By José Saramago
Translated from the Portuguese by way of Margaret Jull Costa
Senhor José is a low-grade clerk within the city's vital Registry, the place the dwelling and the lifeless percentage a similar shelf area. 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 at some point, whilst he comes around the files of an nameless younger girl, whatever occurs to him. Obsessed, Senhor José units off to stick with the thread which may 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 probability, the invention of love-all coalesce during this notable novel that monitors the facility and paintings of José Saramago in amazing 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, before everything 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 a really clever yet unexciting learn. Unexciting: fallacious.
Within the 1st few pages, Saramago establishes a pressure that sings at the web page, rises, produces attractive revelations and culminates while the ultimate paragraph twists expectancies once more. The name 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 nation whose population nonetheless reside via historic principles of hierarchical social sessions. The registry is quixotically disorganized in order that the documents of these such a lot lately deceased are buried lower than miles of paper on the furthest get rid of of the large construction.
After greater than twenty years on the activity, 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 basic terms accidentally, the index card of a 36-year-old girl unknown to him turns into entangled within the clippings he steals. all of sudden, he's suffering from a necessity to profit approximately this woman's existence. fed on through ardour, this heretofore version of punctilious habit commits a sequence of harmful and unprofessional acts. He forges authentic papers, breaks right into a construction, eliminates files from associations and maintains to go into the registry after darkish. All punishable offenses. to hold out his project, he's pressured to develop into sensible, shrewdpermanent and courageous. however the extra dangers he's taking, the extra mind-blowing 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 stunning evidence concerning 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 enchanting narrative depicts the loneliness of person lives and the common desire for human connection at the same time it illuminates the superb line among the dwelling and the dead.
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They both knew there was no next, not now, not any time soon, and the silence returned. “We should buy a place on Scrub Island,” he said. “There was such delicious food there. ” “And the ostriches. That man herding them with a bullwhip. ” “Yes,” she said. ” “I’m hot,” he said. She got off the bed and opened both windows. The winter’s crisp, shocking reality blew in. She turned back toward the bed. Then she remembered the handcuffs. She walked over to his nightstand and removed them from the drawer.
Dr. Ruefle began their session by asking about his family history. He offered what little he had. His grandparents were dead; he knew their occupations, but nothing more. His father had died of cancer when he was a boy. On the twentieth anniversary of his death, his mother had been struck by a mirror, beneath which she had been sitting in a restaurant, when it came loose from the wall, and she died of blunt trauma to the head. Dr. Ruefle was never able to make sense of these facts or anything else.
He pulled his stare from the unfocused void into which he had lost himself. He looked at the cuffs mournfully, as if they belonged to someone whose death had come on suddenly, and now he was taking stock, with great reluctance, of what to keep and what to throw away. He pursed his lips and shook his head and resumed looking at the ceiling. She put the cuffs back in the drawer. 3 Her sleep was fitful, responsive to every turn he took, the slightest shift. She woke up when she heard Becka come home, and later when Tim began to whistle—he never snored, but when he lay on his back his heavy breathing turned to a tuneless whistle.
All the Names by José Saramago