Jose Saramago, Portugal’s only Nobel prize winning author, has died at the age of 87 at his home on the island of Tenerife.
The poor son of Portuguese peasants, he taught himself to read and write at a local library after being forced to drop out of school at a young age to work to support his family.
He has written a number of insightful books which have explored the people of Portugal and Spain, and was considered to be the greatest writer alive on the Peninsula. His books put the Portuguese government and the Catholic Church at loggerheads, and his work helped to reduce the Church’s influence in Portuguese government policy.
And in 1995 he fell foul of Silvio Berlusconi, who used all of his business power to prevent the publication of his book in Italy after he severely criticised Silvio.
His works were considered to be eminantly readable – serious insightful works that were thought provoking, and caused the reader to wonder “what if…?”.
I remember several of his books with pleasure, and will have to dig them out again for a re-read.
He was writing another book, and one of his books is currently being filmed with a number of famous Portuguese and Spanish actors.
Just to let you know, Mr Saramago died in Tias, Lanzarote, as my sister lives (lived) down the road from him!!!
Whoops! Where did I get Tenerife from? My mistake.