Ordinary Words

The prime minister's final flourish, "Honor your country, for the eyes of the country are upon you," complete with drumrolls and bugle blasts unearthed from the attics of the mustiest of national rhetoric, was ruined by a "Good night" that rang entirely false, but then that is the great thing about ordinary words, they are incapable of deceit.

— José Saramago

Senhor Saramago will be 84 next November. His new novel will be published in April. I was fortunate to be asked to write an early review for the Manchester Guardian. Seeing is a sequel to his Nobel Prize novel Blindness, and a most extraordinary, deeply moving book. I hope people familiar with Saramago's style will forgive me for introducing quotation marks into the quotation above, but I figured that without them it wouldn't make much sense to people unfamiliar with the way he doesn't punctuate. Please don't tell Senhor Saramago that I punctuated him.

March 2006

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Updated Tuesday, 18-Jun-2019 10:14:40 EDT