By José Saramago
Translated from the Portuguese by way of Margaret Jull Costa
Senhor José is a low-grade clerk within the city's relevant Registry, the place the dwelling and the lifeless percentage an analogous shelf house. A middle-aged bachelor, he has little interest in whatever past the certificate of delivery, marriage, divorce, and demise which are his day-by-day regimen. yet in the future, whilst he comes around the documents of an nameless younger lady, whatever occurs to him. Obsessed, Senhor José units off to persist with the thread that could lead him to the woman-but as he will get nearer, he discovers extra approximately her, and approximately himself, than he may ever have wished.
The loneliness of people's lives, the consequences of likelihood, the invention of love-all coalesce during this impressive novel that screens the facility and artwork of José Saramago in significant form.
From Publishers Weekly
The misleading simplicity of Nobel Prize-winner Saramago's prose, and the ironic reviews that he intersperses inside of this tale of an obsessional quest, at first have a disarming impression; one expects that this low-key exploration of a quiet man's eccentric descent right into a metaphysical labyrinth can be an exceptionally clever yet unexciting learn. Unexciting: improper.
Within the 1st few pages, Saramago establishes a stress that sings at the web page, rises, produces gorgeous revelations and culminates while the ultimate paragraph twists expectancies once more. The identify refers back to the miles of archival documents between which the protagonist toils on the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths in an unnamed small state whose population nonetheless reside by way of historic principles of hierarchical social sessions. The registry is quixotically disorganized in order that the records of these such a lot lately deceased are buried less than miles of paper on the furthest get rid of of the big development.
After greater than twenty years on the task, 50-year-old Senhor Jos remains to be a trifling clerk within the bureau. A penurious, reclusive, lonely bachelor, Senhor Jos has just one mystery ardour: he collects clippings approximately recognized humans and surreptitiously copies their delivery certificate, purloining them from the registry at evening and returning them stealthily. in simple terms unintentionally, the index card of a 36-year-old lady unknown to him turns into entangled within the clippings he steals. by surprise, he's affected by a necessity to profit approximately this woman's existence. ate up via ardour, this heretofore version of punctilious habit commits a chain of risky and unprofessional acts. He forges authentic papers, breaks right into a construction, gets rid of documents from associations and keeps to go into the registry after darkish. All punishable offenses. to hold out his project, he's compelled to turn into functional, shrewdpermanent and courageous. however the extra dangers he is taking, the extra outstanding occasions happen, leader between them that the distant, authoritarian Registrar takes a private curiosity in his lowly worker. in the meantime, Senhor Jos himself discovers surprising evidence in regards to the lady he seeks. Saramago relates those occasions in finely honed prose pervaded with irony, but in addition playful, mocking and witty. Alternately farcical, macabre, surreal and tragic, this captivating narrative depicts the loneliness of person lives and the common desire for human connection whilst it illuminates the wonderful line among the residing and the dead.
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