Karen B, September 10, 2011 (view all comments by Karen B)
I started reading this before Saramago died, and now there won't be any more new novels from him. This made the book, and the ending, all the more poignant.
I love an ending that makes me want to start the book all over again because I know it will only deepen with rereading, and this was one of those books.
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tudidane, March 11, 2007 (view all comments by tudidane)
Jose Saramago presents a character with a dull, boring job who in the face of doing and being all that he is supposed to do, chooses to do something daring for the first time in his life, to find a young lady whose card he chooses out of the thousands he sees every day. The reading is difficult at first because of the lack of quotations and the page long paragraphes, but as the book progresses one is enchanted by the change of mood and the growing complexity of Senhor Jose, his one character ironically who has a name.
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A stunning novel by Nobel prize-winner José Saramago. At first, the style may be off-putting, but once you get into it, the story flows as delicately as melted butter. With the preternatural perception of Kafka, and the gentle reflection of Steinbeck, All the Names is a mostly allegorical tale of a petty bureaucrat who seeks to understand the lives of the forgotten. His quest ends in a remote corner of a cemetary where he, and the reader, are graced with a nearly celestial visitation. In the hands of a lesser writer, the set-up would have been pure schmalz, but in the hands of Saramago, it's nothing short of poetry.
by John Banville, The New Republic,
"Saramago has a light, graceful, ironical touch, and he maintains a welcome restraint in his use of the paraphernalia of magical realism, that literary dead-end into which so many talented writers have stumbled over the past two or three decades, chasing like lemmings after the ghosts of the colorful Buendia clan. Saramago is well aware that, contrary to popular notions, one of the novelist's primary duties is to keep his imagination under tight control." (read the entire New Republic review here)
"A riveting, Kafkaesque journey into one man's obsession amid the arid, repetitive, and cumbersome bureaucratic environment in which he works....This haunting, strangely moving novel is uplifting despite the tragic nature of the woman's life; Saramago's true theme here is how compassion ultimately rules human behavior."
by The Denver Post,
"A tour de force....It is a book that's not simply read, but experienced."
by The Seattle Times,
"A psychological, even metaphysical thriller that will keep you turning the pages...with growing alarm and alacrity."
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"The resonant themes of identity and autonomy are examined with keen precision and rich humor in the Portuguese Nobel laureate's most recent fiction....Mischievous, saturnine, and commandingly eloquent fiction."
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