Mr. Saramago was known almost as much for his unfaltering Communism as for his fiction. In later years he used his stature as a Nobel laureate to deliver lectures at international congresses around the world, accompanied by his wife, the Spanish journalist Pilar del Río. He described globalization as the new totalitarianism and lamented contemporary democracy’s failure to stem the increasing powers of multinational corporations.
This is sad news, in that regardless of how you feel about Saramago’s politics, you have to admit he wrote some absolutely beautiful books. It was the summer of 1998 that I first read The History of the Seige of Lisbon, my first and still my favorite Saramago. What a glorious book, what perfect days, racing through my ghastly consulting assignments to submerge myself in Saramago’s beloved Lisbon. Then, getting to visit Lisbon years later.