Sunday, June 20, 2010

José Saramago (1922 - 2010)

He was one of only a few contemporary writers who resonated with me, most prominently in the sense that his clear and forceful political agenda is presented so delicately, so beautifully, that one often forgets one is receiving a lesson while reading. An atheist, a communist, and most of all, a humanist, his book Blindness speaks about the spark of decency within human beings without needing recourse to God, the soul, or anything like a 'natural' law, not to mention organized bureaucratic political systems. For Saramago, all there is is us, and ultimately, that is all there should be, too. I do not necessarily agree with everything his position entails, being agnostic and only moderately Left, but I know that on every page, one can find the insights of a master, one who believes absolutely in what he wants to say. I have been dazzled and taught by everything I have read of him, and his writing gives me hope that fiction can again be used to educate philosophically, even in an era where such endeavours are greeted with laughter. It seems to me that his books are windows onto the truth, in a very similar way as, though paradoxically entirely different from, Kundera and Borges. I know I will return to his world again soon, and I will feel like I am entering the warm house of an old friend whose intelligence and perspicacity floors me with every meeting.

"Look at me, I am the man you said you were going to live with, and she replied, I know you, you're the man that I am living with, in the end these are the words that are worth even more than those that wanted to surface, and this embrace as much as the words."

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