June 19, 2010

MAYBE THEY DON'T READ HIM...:

Jose Saramago, Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, Dies at 87 (Jim Silver, 6/18/10, Business Week)

Saramago, the only Portuguese winner of the literary prize, was 60 before he wrote most of the novels for which he was honored, having worked as a car mechanic, civil servant, production manager in a publishing company and newspaper editor before becoming a full-time writer.

He joined the Portuguese Communist Party in 1969, during a dictatorship that had outlawed the party, and was a contentious figure in the nation’s public life.

After a military-led government with Communist participation took power in 1974, Saramago the next year became deputy director of a leading newspaper, Diario de Noticias, where opponents on the staff said he helped impose pro- government news coverage. He was fired after a November 1975 confrontation that reduced the Communists’ role in the government.

In 1991, the government blocked the nomination of his novel, “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” for a European literary prize, calling it offensive to Catholics. In the book, Saramago portrays a Jesus who has sex with Mary Magdalene and is a pawn in a power struggle between God and the Devil. The government’s decision prompted him and his wife, Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio, to leave Portugal for Spain’s Canary Islands, where he lived for the rest of his life. [...]

After winning the Nobel, Saramago, though still living in Spain, was feted in his home country. A publisher named a literary award for young writers after him, and the city of Beja in southern Portugal put his name on its municipal library.

Still, he didn’t win universal affection from the Portuguese, many of whom hadn’t read his work, partly because of its difficult style, Almeida Rodrigues said.

“The Portuguese find him somewhat arrogant,” she said. “Portuguese who are outstanding tend to be recognized more outside the country than at home.”


...because the books suck?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 19, 2010 8:00 AM
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