Saturday, June 19, 2010


Rave, I am really down in the dumps today: my favorite living writer is no longer living!

"I am edging towards cashing in my chips, too, as far as that goes." Rave grabs a beakful of tortilla española.

Nonsense. You're just bidding for attention. And I am serious--when I read The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis I felt like I had started a new life--well, literarily speaking. Saramago was the one writer who was always original, always ready to stand the sanctifed, the sanctimonious and the received on its ear. Most recently in the novel Cain.

"Congruent, I think is the word I'd use--a libertarian communist, in his own words."

All of the great ones have recently moved on: Antonioni, Bergman--and now Saramago. The folks that made great art out of really putting their eyes on the way our species lives on this planet.

"Maybe they were finally just too nauseated to go on."

Odd you should mention that, given that I just finished re-reading Sartre's Nausea. I thought after nearly 50 years I would give it a second chance. It still wasn't all that good. If there ever was an over-rated Literature Nobel--it was not Saramago, but Sartre.

"Didn't he refuse the prize?"

I think so--and that was probably his greatest literary truth.

"At least he didn't send Simone de Beauvoir up to give a rejection speech wearing a warbonnet."

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