On June 18th the world lost a legend in the literary world. Portuguese-born Nobel-prize winner Jose Saramago died at the age of 87 and was mourned by over 20,000 people in Lisbon at his funeral last week.

Jose Saramago

Jose Saramago

Saramago was born Jose de Sousa to a family of landless peasants. His father was nicknamed Saramago, which means ‘wild radish’ and was inadvertently given the name on his school records. His parents could not afford to keep him in school however, and at age twelve he was enrolled in a technical school to become an auto mechanic, which he did for a number of years following his training. His passion, however, was for the written word. He was an avid reader and worked most of his life as a translator, journalist, and editior. Although he wrote his first novel Terra do Pecado in his twenties, he did not gain much fame until his fifties. He garnered the Nobel in 1998.

His stories are extremely imaginative as well as often being political in nature, which caused a fair amount of controversy from many different groups over the years. His writing style is quite unusual as well, with very little punctuation and sentences sometimes running on for half a page. He was an oral traditionalist, calling his long and dense narratives “written orality.” Some may find this distracting, but it is actually quite easy to read and understand, uninhibited by colons and periods and instead drawing your attention to the nuggets of wisdom and the incredible plots.

At Raptis Rare Books we have an extremely large collection of signed Saramago first editions. If you are looking to collect books by this amazing author, you have come to the right place.