Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jose Saramago: The Notebook

 The Notebook
Chris Dolan reviews José Saramago's The Notebook.
These notes, I found, are not simply a blog but contributions to the much more ambitious Saramago Foundation, which attempts, in its founder’s words, to “bring a new dynamic to cultural life in Portugal”. There are many more voices than Saramago’s given an airing in the site, and in The Notebook some of that desire for dialogue, that generosity of spirit, comes across, too. Saramago comments on events his foundation has organised – presentations by Baltasar Garzón, celebrations of the work of Carlos Fuentes and Fernando Pessoa. If nothing else, the English translations of these blogs might pique an Anglo-American interest in writers and thinkers from the Hispanic world.

At 87, Saramago leads a busy life, ­travelling, overseeing the publication of his novel (O Viagem do Elefante, available here next year) and putting the finishing touches to the one after that – Caim; he does radio talk-ins and hosts events at his Foundation and, it seems, almost any other organisation willing to let him talk about justice and writing and writers. The energy, passion and continuing political anger of the man glows brightly throughout the Notebook.

He signs off from his blog, saying he needs time to dedicate himself to yet another book – but I checked this morning, and he’s written several notes on the site since. There’s no stopping the man, thankfully.
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