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Small Memoriesby Jose Saramago
Synopses & Reviews
“Small Memories is a . . . nourishing last gift from a great writer.”—Washington Post
Shifting back and forth between childhood and his teenage years, between Azinhaga and Lisbon, this is a mosaic of memories, a simply told, affecting look into the author’s boyhood: the tragic death of his older brother at the age of four; his mother pawning the family’s blankets every spring and buying them back in time for winter; his beloved grandparents bringing the weaker piglets into their bed on cold nights; and Saramago’s early encounters with literature, from teaching himself to read by deciphering articles in the daily newspaper, to poring over an entertaining dialogue in a Portuguese-French conversation guide, not realizing that he was in fact reading a play by Molière.
Written with Saramago’s characteristic wit and honesty, Small Memories traces the formation of an artist fascinated by words and stories from an early age who emerged, against all odds, as one of the world’s most respected writers.
“Like a nostalgic progenitor bestowing his wealth of life experience upon a younger generation, Saramago digs deep into his peasant roots to sketch a rough outline of the little boy who would become one of the greatest Portuguese-language writers”—Portland Oregonian
"One of Mr. Saramago's last books, and one of his most touching," (New York Times), this posthumous memoir of his childhood, written with characteristic wit and honesty, traces the formation of an individual into an artist who emerged against all odds as one of the world's most respected writers.
The tale of an elephant named Solomon who travels through sixteenth century Europe, from Lisbon to Vienna.
A posthumously published collection of Italo Calvino's autobiographical writings recounting his experiences in Italys antifascist resistance, paying homage to his influences, tracing the evolution of his literary style, and commenting wryly on his travels in the United States.
Heartfelt, affecting, and wise, the essay collection The Road to San Giovanni offers Italo Calvinos reflections on his own life and work in five elegant "memory exercises."
When Josandeacute; Saramago decided some twenty years ago to write a book about Portugal, his only desire was that it be unlike all other books on the subject, and in this he has certainly succeeded. Recording the events and observations of a journey across the length and breadth of the country he loves dearly, Saramago brings Portugal to life as only a writer of his brilliance can. Forfeiting sources of information such as tourist guides and road maps, he scours the country with the eyes and ears of an observer fascinated by the ancient myths and history of his people. Whether an inaccessible medieval fortress set on a cliff, a wayside chapel thick with cobwebs, or a grand mansion in the city, the extraordinary places of this land come alive with kings, warriors, painters, explorers, writers, saints, and sinners. Always meticulously attentive to those elements of ancient Portugal that persist today, Saramago examines the country in its current period of rapid transition and growth.
Infused with the tenderness and intelligence that have become familiar to his readers, Saramago's Journey to Portugal is an ode of love for a country and its rich traditions.
“In each other’s presence we became mute, would walk in silence side by side along the road to San Giovanni. To my father’s mind, words must serve as confirmations of things, and as signs of possession; to mine, they were foretastes of things barely glimpsed, not possessed, presumed.” —from The Road to San Giovanni
In these autobiographical essays, published after Italo Calvino’s death, the intellectually vibrant writer not only reflects on his own past, but also inquires into the very workings of memory itself. From the title essay’s lyrical evocation of the author’s relationship with his father, and a charming account of teenage years spent in the glow of the cinema screen, to Calvino’s reminiscences of his experiences in the Italian Resistance during World War II and of his years in Paris, to his declaration of purpose as a writer in the final essay’s visionary fragments, these five “memory exercises” are heartfelt, affecting, and wise.
“Brimming with Calvino’s beautifully crafted prose, dry humor, and continual questioning . . . Calvino has been very well served by his translator, Tim Parks.” —Observer
About the Author
JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today.
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