José Saramago was eighteen months old when he moved from the village of Azinhaga with his father and mother to live in Lisbon. But he would return to the village throughout his childhood and adolescence to stay with his maternal grandparents, illiterate peasants in the eyes of the outside world, but a fount of knowledge, affection, and authority to young José.
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 back into the authors 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 Saramagos 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 and who emerged, against all odds, as one of the world's most respected writers.
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"Starred Review. Weaving together memories of his Portuguese childhood, Nobel Prizewinner Saramago (19222010) presents a lyrical portrait of the artist as a young man." - Publishers Weekly
"Recommended for those who love the beauty of Saramago's finely translated prose and to all who love to travel via the written word." - Library Journal
"A slim, elliptical, often poetic memoir by the late Portuguese winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature...A nonfictional footnote to a brilliant career in fiction." - Kirkus
"Starred Review... one of the most sheerly beautiful writing exercises in any mode or genre of the season." - Booklist
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José Saramago was born in 1922 in Azinhaga, Portugal, the son of rural laborers. He grew up in great poverty in Lisbon, and was forced to abandon school at the age of 12 in order to earn a living. Saramago was spent 2 years training as a technician,did a number of manual jobs before becoming a journalist, translator, and eventually a writer . In 1969 he joined the Communist Party of Portugal, which was forbidden during the military dictatorship, but he also criticized the party. In the 1970s Saramago supported himself mostly by translation works, and since 1979 he has devoted himself entirely to writing.
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