Jose Saramago (born 1922 in Azinhaga, Portugal) is a writer, playwright, and journalist. He usually presents subversive perspectives of historical events in his works, trying to underline the human factor behind historical events, instead of presenting the usual official historical narratives. Some works of his can also be seen as allegories.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. He currently resides in the Canary Islands. Saramago has been a member of the Communist Party of Portugal since 1969, as well as an atheist and self-described pessimist - his positions have aroused considerable controversy in Portugal, especially after the publication of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.
In his 2003 book, Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, the American literary critic Harold Bloom named Saramago as "the most gifted novelist alive in the world today." Referring to him as "the master," he said he's "one of the last titans of an expiring literary genre."
Claims of anti-Semitism
Commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saramago recently stated that Jews no longer deserve "sympathy for the suffering they went through during the Holocaust. . . . Living under the shadows of the Holocaust and expecting to be forgiven for anything they do on behalf of what they have suffered seems abusive to me. They didn't learn anything from the suffering of their parents and grandparents." The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish civil-rights group, has characterized these remarks as being anti-Semitic. To wit, Abraham Foxman, director of the ADL stated, "Jose Saramago's comments are incendiary, deeply offensive, and show an ignorance of the issues that suggest a bias against the Jews."
On the US$950,000 nobel prize that he recently won: "This prize is for all speakers of Portuguese, but while we're on the subject, I shall keep the money."
1977 - Manual of Painting and Calligraphy
1978 - Quasi Objects
1981 - Journey to Portugal
1982 - Baltasar and Blimunda
1984 - The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (A Tribute to Fernando Pessoa)
1986 - The Stone Raft
1989 - The History of the Siege of Lisbon
1991 - The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
1995 - Blindness
1997 - All the Names
1999 - The Tale of the Unknown Island
2001 - The Cave
2004 - The Double