Jose Saramago

Literary Birthday – 16 November – José Saramago

José Saramago was born 16 November 1922, and died 18 June 2010.

José Saramago Quotes

  1. We can escape from everything, but not from ourselves.
  2. I don’t believe in the notion that some characters have lives of their own and the author follows after them. The author has to be careful not to force the character to do something that would go against the logic of that character’s personality, but the character does not have independence. The character is trapped in the author’s hand, in my hand, but he is trapped in a way he does not know he is trapped. The characters are on strings, but the strings are loose; the characters enjoy the illusion of freedom, of independence, but they cannot go where I do not want them to go. When that happens, the author must pull on the string and say to them, I am in charge here.
  3. Our biggest tragedy is not knowing what to do with our lives.
  4. Sometimes I say that writing a novel is the same as constructing a chair: a person must be able to sit in it, to be balanced on it. If I can produce a great chair, even better. But above all I have to make sure that it has four stable feet.
  5. Death is the inventor of God.
  6. I don’t think it is worth explaining how a character’s nose or chin looks. It is my feeling that readers will prefer to construct, little by little, their own character—the author will do well to entrust the reader with this part of the work.
  7. A writer is a man like any other: he dreams.
  8. I am a mere novelist, I just write about the world as I see it. It is not my job to transform it. I cannot transform it all by myself, and I wouldn’t even know how to. I limit myself to saying what I believe the world to be.
  9. The novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers.
  10. I had no books at home. I started to frequent a public library in Lisbon. It was there, with no help except curiosity and the will to learn, that my taste for reading developed and was refined.

José Saramago was a Portuguese writer and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include Blindness, The Gospel According To Jesus Christ, and Death with Interruptions.

Source for Image

Presidencia de la Nación Argentina, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 16th November 2013