Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The great thing about books is that you don't have to be monogamous. You can have flings and serious affairs and deep and lasting relationships with as many books as you want to. You can love indiscriminately and not be charged with adultery or polygamy (though some might accuse you of bad taste). You can even be an adult who enjoys children's books and not have to worry about them being "jail bait." Nor do you have to explain why polyamory isn't due to an inability to commit. On Saturday I declared I am falling in love with Emerson. Today I have completely fallen for José Saramago. I am only on page 67 of Seeing, but I am head over heels. The only other book of Saramago's I have read is Blindness. I read it five years ago, enjoyed it immensely and still think about it sometimes. The scene at the apartment when they are out on the balcony, bathing in the rain haunts me. That and how hard it must have been for the woman who could see. She alone had to bear witness to it all. Apparently she is in Seeing as well, though she has not yet made an appearance. What is so affecting about Seeing is how real it is. The citizens cast their blank votes and the politicians refuse to understand what it means. They send out spies to find out who is behind all of it. They bring people in for questioning and they are "detained" in order to "help" with the "investigation." And the news media, not wishing to offend anyone, manages to report on the situation without reporting anything and then can't figure out why no one reads the newspaper anymore. The realism of the novel is making me "see" real life event even more clearly. What sent me over the edge in love, is the recent Guardian interview with Saramago. I want to quote it all, from the description of his library to his thoughts on politics and art. But I can't do that, so be sure to read it. I will, however, quote what he says about novels:

I think the novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers. The novel receives streams of science, philosophy, poetry and contains all of these; it's not simply telling a story.
I like that. I like the idea of a novel being "like a sea that is filled by many rivers." Before I go off to read, here are a couple more Saramago links:
  • His autobiography for the Nobel Prize folks
  • Wikipedia article that includes a full bibliography
  • If you have any other interesting Saramago links or tidbits, I'd be glad to hear about them.