In the latest novel from #1 best-selling author Paulo Coelho, a woman attempts to overcome midlife ennui by rediscovering herself in a passionate relationship with a man who had been a friend in her youth.A woman in her thirties begins to question the routine and predictability of her days. In everybody's eyes, she has a perfect life: happy marriage, children, and a career. Yet what she feels is an enormous apathy. All that changes when she encounters a successful politician who had, years earlier, been her high school boyfriend. As she rediscovers the passion missing from her life, she will face a life-altering choice.This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Senhor José is a low-grade clerk in the city's Central Registry, where the living and the dead share the same shelf space. A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death that are his daily routine. But one day, when he comes across the records of an anonymous young woman, something happens to him. Obsessed, Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that may lead him to the woman-but as he gets closer, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would ever have wished.The loneliness of people's lives, the effects of chance, the discovery of love-all coalesce in this extraordinary novel that displays the power and art of José Saramago in brilliant form.
"Suitably disturbing--and a pleasure to read." -- The ScotsmanIn this, his last novel, José Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Old Testament, recalling his provocative The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. His tale runs from the Garden of Eden, when God realizes he has forgotten to give Adam and Eve the gift of speech, to the moment when Noah's Ark lands on the dry peak of Ararat. Cain, the despised, the murderer, is Saramago's protagonist. Condemned to wander forever after he kills his brother Abel, Cain makes his way through the world in the company of a personable donkey. He is a witness to and participant in the stories of Isaac and Abraham, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, Moses and the golden calf, the trials of Job. The rapacious Queen Lilith takes him as her lover. An old man with two sheep on a rope crosses his path. And again and again, Cain encounters a God whose actions seem callous, cruel, and unjust. He confronts Him, he argues with Him. "And one thing we know for certain," Saramago writes, "is that they continued to argue and are arguing still." A startling book--sensual, funny--in all ways a fitting end to Saramago's extraordinary career.
Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daughter Marta and her husband Marçal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center, an imposing complex of shops, apartments, and offices to which Cipriano delivers his pots and jugs every month. On one such trip, he is told not to make any more deliveries. Unwilling to give up his craft, Cipriano tries his hand at making ceramic dolls. Astonishingly, The Center places an order for hundreds, and Cipriano and Marta set to work-until the order is cancelled and the three have to move from the village into The Center. When mysterious sounds of digging emerge from beneath their apartment, Cipriano and Marçal investigate, and what they find transforms the family's life. Filled with the depth, humor, and the extraordinary philosophical richness that marks each of Saramago's novels, The Cave is one of the essential books of our time.
This collection, available exclusively in e-book form, brings together the twelve novels (and one novella) of the great Portuguese writer José Saramago, with an introductory essay by Ursula Le Guin. From Saramago's early work, like the enchanting Baltasar & Blimunda and the controversial Gospel According to Jesus Christ, through his masterpiece Blindness and its sequel Seeing, to his later fables of politics, chance, history, and love, like All the Names and Death with Interruptions, this volume showcases the range and depth of Saramago's career, his inimitable narrative voice, and his vast reserves of invention, humor, and understanding.
Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the question -- what happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death? On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration-flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home-families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small d, became human and were to fall in love?
A cruel schoolboy prank leaves the only Catholic boy in an elite Jewish school in Porto Alegre terribly injured. Years later, one of his classmates revisits that episode, trying to come to terms with the choices he made then and his present demons. DIARY OF THE FALL is the story of three generations: a man's struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer's, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.Beautiful and brave, Michel Laub's novel asks the most basic--and yet the most complex--questions about history and identity, exploring what stories we choose to tell about ourselves and how we become the people we are.
Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a divorced, depressed history teacher. To lift his spirits, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film, unimpressed. But during the night, when he is awakened by noises in his apartment, he goes into the living room to find that the VCR is replaying the video. He watches in astonishment as a man who looks exactly like him-or, more specifically, exactly like he did five years before, mustachioed and fuller in the face-appears on the screen. He sleeps badly.Against his better judgment, Tertuliano decides to pursue his double. As he roots out the man's identity, what begins as a whimsical story becomes a "wonderfully twisted meditation on identity and individuality" (The Boston Globe). Saramago displays his remarkable talent in this haunting tale of appearance versus reality.
A delightful, witty tale of friendship and adventure from prize-winning novelist José Saramago In 1551, King João III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. In José Saramago's remarkable and imaginative retelling, Solomon and his keeper, Subhro, begin in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant would be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Solomon a long overdue scrub. Accompanied by the Archduke, his new wife, and the royal guard, these unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and civil wars, witnessed along the way by scholars, historians, and wide-eyed ordinary people as they make their way through the storied cities of northern Italy; they brave the Alps and the terrifying Isarco and Brenner Passes; across the Mediterranean Sea and up the Inn River; and at last, toward their grand entry into the imperial city.
THE FALL is a memoir like no other. Its 424 short passages match the number of steps taken by Diogo Mainardi's son Tito as he walks, with great difficulty, alongside his father through the streets of Venice, the city where a medical mishap during Tito's birth left him with Cerebral Palsy. As they make their way toward the hospital where both their lives changed forever, Mainairdi begins to draw on his knowledge of art and history, seeking to better explain a tragedy that was entirely avoidable. From Marcel Proust to Neil Young, to Sigmund Freud to Humpty Dumpty, to Renaissance Venice and Auschwitz, he charts the trajectory of the Western world, with Tito at its center, showing how his fate has been shaped by the past. Told with disarming simplicity; by turns angry, joyful, and always generous, wise and suprising, THE FALL is an anstonishing book.
A fifteenth-century painting by a Flemish master is about to be auctioned when Julia, a young art restorer, discovers a peculiar inscription hidden in a corner: Who killed the knight? In the painting, the Duke of Flanders and his knight are locked in a game of chess, and a dark lady lurks mysteriously in the background. Julia is determined to solve the five-hundred-year-old murder, but as she begins to look for clues, several of her friends in the art world are brutally murdered in quick succession. Messages left with the bodies suggest a crucial connection between the chess game in the painting, the knight's murder, the sordid underside of the contemporary art world, and the latest deaths. Just when all of the players in the mystery seem to be pawns themselves, events race toward a shocking conclusion. A thriller like no other, The Flanders Panel presents a tantalizing puzzle for any connoisseur of mystery, chess, art, and history.
Falling somewhere between Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, Hunting the Last Wild Man tells the story of Candela and her extended family of nine women. Our protagonist has had her disappointments in love and floats from one job to another, ending up at the local mortuary as an apprentice embalmer. There she can tuck herself away from the everyday hubbub of life's demands.Late one night Candela finds she must work on the father of a gypsy clan, who has left instructions that he must be buried with his cane. Her days are changed forever when she discovers that the cane holds more than just the old man's wishes.With rich images suggestive of an Almódovar film, with emotional depth and intelligence, Vallvey explores the modern woman's cynicism, as Candela attempts to integrate an impossibly marvelous stranger into her life.
From the award-winning Spanish writer Javier Marías comes an extraordinary new book that has been a literary sensation around the world: an immersive, provocative novel propelled by a seemingly random murder that we come to understand--or do we?--through one woman's ever-unfurling imagination and infatuations. At the Madrid café where she stops for breakfast each day before work, María Dolz finds herself drawn to a couple who is also there every morning. Though she can hardly explain it, observing what she imagines to be their "unblemished" life lifts her out of the doldrums of her own existence. But what begins as mere observation turns into an increasingly complicated entanglement when the man is fatally stabbed in the street. María approaches the widow to offer her condolences, and at the couple's home she meets--and falls in love with--another man who sheds disturbing new light on the crime. As María recounts this story, we are given a murder mystery brilliantly reimagined as metaphysical enquiry, a novel that grapples with questions of love and death, guilt and obsession, chance and coincidence, how we are haunted by our losses, and above all, the slippery essence of the truth and how it is told.
The latest novel from the #1 internationally best-selling author of The Alchemist.There is nothing wrong with anxiety. Although we cannot control God's time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible. Or to drive away whatever is causing our fear. . . . Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it--just as we have learned to live with storms. * * * July 14, 1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city's gates. There, inside the ancient city's walls, men and women of every age and every faith have gathered to hear the wise words of a mysterious man known only as the Copt. He has summoned the townspeople to address their fears with truth: "Tomorrow, harmony will become discord. Joy will be replaced by grief. Peace will give way to war. . . . None of us can know what tomorrow will hold, because each day has its good and its bad moments. So, when you ask your questions, forget about the troops outside and the fear inside. Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date for those who will inherit the Earth; history will take care of that. Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face." The people begin with questions about defeat, struggle, and the nature of their enemies; they contemplate the will to change and the virtues of loyalty and solitude; and they ultimately turn to questions of beauty, love, wisdom, sex, elegance, and what the future holds. "What is success?" poses the Copt. "It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace." * * * Now, these many centuries later, the wise man's answers are a record of the human values that have endured throughout time. And, in Paulo Coelho's hands, The Manuscript Found in Accra reveals that who we are, what we fear, and what we hope for the future come from the knowledge and belief that can be found within us, and not from the adversity that surrounds us. From the Hardcover edition.
The unnamed narrator reflects on his parents' marriage and is fixated on the eight mysterious months his mother spent in Paris after they split up, when the narrator was a boy.'Paris' depicts a man's journey through the labyrinth of his memories, a search for his origins that will uncover an old family secret and turn his world upside down.
"Essential...A novel that resounds with relevance for our own time." --New York Times Book Review First published in 1980, the City of Lisbon Prize-winning Raised from the Ground follows the changing fortunes of the Mau Tempo family--poor landless peasants not unlike Saramago's own grandparents. Set in Alentejo, a southern province of Portugal known for its vast agricultural estates, the novel charts the lives of the Mau Tempos as national and international events rumble on in the background--the coming of the republic in Portugual, the two world wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazar's life. Yet nothing really impinges on the grim reality of the farm laborers' lives until the first communist stirrings. Raised from the Ground is Saramago's most deeply personal novel, the book in which he found the signature style and voice that distinguishes all of his brilliant works.
A private meeting, chance encounters, and a mysterious tour of Lisbon, in this brilliant homage to Fernando Pessoa. In this enchanting and evocative novel, Antonio Tabucchi takes the reader on a dream-like trip to Portugal, a country he is deeply attached to. He spent many years there as director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Lisbon. He even wrote Requiem in Portuguese; it had to be translated into Italian for publication in his native Italy. Requiem's narrator has an appointment to meet someone on a quay by the Tagus at twelve. But, it turns out, not twelve noon, twelve midnight, so he has a long time to while away. As the day unfolds, he has many encounters--a young junky, a taxi driver who is not familiar with the streets, several waiters, a gypsy, a cemetery keeper, the mysterious Isabel, an accordionist, in all almost two dozen people both real and illusionary. Finally he meets The Guest, the ghost of the long dead great poet Fernando Pessoa. Part travelog, part autobiography, part fiction, and even a bit of a cookbook, Requiem becomes an homage to a country and its people, and a farewell to the past as the narrator lays claim to a literary forebear who, like himself, is an evasive and many-sided personality.
On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to come out to vote. The politicians are growing jittery. Should they reschedule the elections for another day? Around three o'clock, the rain finally stops. Promptly at four, voters rush to the polling stations, as if they had been ordered to appear.But when the ballots are counted, more than 70 percent are blank. The citizens are rebellious. A state of emergency is declared. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? Or even blindly? The word evokes terrible memories of the plague of blindness that hit the city four years before, and of the one woman who kept her sight. Could she be behind the blank ballots? A police superintendent is put on the case.What begins as a satire on governments and the sometimes dubious efficacy of the democratic system turns into something far more sinister. A singular novel from the author of Blindness.
"Blood is a terrible gossip, it tells everything."Dr. Miranda is faced with a tragedy: his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only a few weeks to live. He is also faced with a dilemma: How does one tell his father he is dying?Ernesto Duran, a patient of Dr. Miranda's, is convinced he is sick. Ever since he separated from his wife he has been presenting symptoms of an illness he believes is killing him. It becomes an obsession far exceeding hypochondria. The fixation, in turn, has its own creeping effect on Miranda's secretary, who cannot, despite her best intentions, resist compassion for the man.A profound and philosophical exploration of the nature and meaning of illness, Alberto Barrera Tyszka's tender, refined novel interweaves the stories of four individuals as they try, in their own way, to come to terms with sickness in all its ubiquity.
A previously unpublished novel by a literary master, Skylight tells the intertwined stories of the residents of a faded apartment building in 1940s Lisbon. Silvestre and Mariana, a happily married elderly couple, take in a young nomad, Abel, and soon discover their many differences. Adriana loves Beethoven more than any man, but her budding sexuality brings new feelings to the surface. Carmen left Galicia to marry humble Emilio, but hates Lisbon and longs for her first love, Manolo. Lidia used to work the streets, but now she's kept by Paulo, a wealthy man with a wandering eye. These are just some of the characters in this early work, completed by Saramago in 1953 but never published until now. With his characteristic compassion, depth, and wit, Saramago shows us the quiet contentment of a happy family and the infectious poison of an unhappy one. We see his characters' most intimate moments as well as the casual encounters particular to neighbors living in close proximity. Skylight is a portrait of ordinary people, painted by a master of the quotidian, a great observer of the immense beauty and profound hardships of the modern world.
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 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 and who emerged, against all odds, as one of the world's most respected writers.
Medardo Fraile, born in Madrid in 1925, is considered to be one of Spain's finest short-story writers. The collection Cuentos de verdad (on which this anthology is based), won him the 1965 Premio Nacional de la Crítica. While his stories have appeared in translation in other story collections, this is the first complete anthology of his work to appear in EnglishLike Anton Chekhov and Katherine Mansfield, Medardo Fraile is a chronicler of the minor tragedies and triumphs of ordinary life, and each short tale opens up an entire exquisite world.
An NYRB Classics OriginalDon Lope is a Don Juan, an aging but still effective predator on the opposite sex. He is also charming and generous, unhesitatingly contributing the better part of his fortune to pay off a friend's debts, kindly assuming responsibility for the friend's orphaned daughter, lovely Tristana. Don Lope takes her into his house and before long he takes her to bed.It's an arrangement that Tristana accepts more or less unquestioningly-- that is, until she meets the handsome young painter Horacio. Then she actively rebels, sets out to educate herself, reveals tremendous talents, and soon surpasses her lover in her open defiance of convention. One thing is for sure: Tristana will be her own woman.And when it counts Don Lope will be there for her. Benito Pérez Galdós, one of the most sophisticated and delightful of the great European novelists, was a clear-eyed, compassionate, and not-a-little amused observer of the confusions, delusions, misrepresentations, and perversions of the mind and heart. He is the unsurpassed chronicler of the reality show called real life.
A dozen unforgettable stories by "one of the most original writers at work today" (Wyatt Mason, The New York Times Book Review). Slippery figures in anomalous situations -- ghosts, spies, bodyguards, criminals -- haunt these stories by Javier Marías: the characters come bearing their strange and special secrets, and never leave our minds. In one story, a man obsessed with his much younger lover endlessly videotapes her every move, and then confides his surprising plans for her; in another a ghost can't stop resigning from his job. Masterfully, Marías manages in a small space to perplex and delight. "The short story fits Marías like a glove," as Le Point noted. His stories have been hailed as "formidably intelligent" (The London Review of Books), "a bracing tonic" (Chicago Tribune), and "startling" (The New York Times Book Review).
An affectionate and very funny gallery of twenty great world authors from the pen of "the most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature" (The Boston Globe). In addition to his own busy career as "one of Europe's most intriguing contemporary writers" (TLS), Javier Marías is also the translator into Spanish of works by Hardy, Stevenson, Conrad, Faulkner, Nabokov, and Laurence Sterne. His love for these authors is the touchstone of Written Lives. Collected here are twenty pieces recounting great writers' lives, "or, more precisely, snippets of writers' lives." Thomas Mann, Rilke, Arthur Conan Doyle, Turgenev, Djuna Barnes, Emily Brontë, Malcolm Lowry, and Kipling appear ("all fairly disastrous individuals"), and "almost nothing" in his stories is invented. Like Isak Dinesen (who "claimed to have poor sight, yet could spot a four-leaf clover in a field from a remarkable distance away"), Marías has a sharp eye. Nabokov is here, making "the highly improbable assertion that he is 'as American as April in Arizona,'" as is Oscar Wilde, who, in debt on his deathbed, ordered up champagne, "remarking cheerfully, 'I am dying beyond my means.'" Faulkner, we find, when fired from his post office job, explained that he was not prepared "to be beholden to any son-of-a-bitch who had two cents to buy a stamp." Affection glows in the pages of Written Lives, evidence, as Marías remarks, that "although I have enjoyed writing all my books, this was the one with which I had the most fun."
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