‘All The Names’ By Jose Saramago

9780156010597I’d read Blindness back in 2001 or 2002, when I was living in Atlanta. I’d bought it at the same Chapter 11 Bookstore where Bruce Campbell has signed my copy of his autobiography.

Like its predecessor in my reading history, All the Names is good, but not great. Maybe it’s the translation. I don’t know, if I knew, that would mean I read Portuguese and wouldn’t need to read a translation. Think before you ask these questions! They make you look silly.

Blindness reminded me greatly of Camus’ The Plague, but not as good. This one brought to mind Kafka’s The Castle, except with a middle aged, nebbish, and frightened narrator.

There is some concept. Some metaphysical point that Saramago is making, but frankly, it’s not clear what it is. Some desire to undo death? To give honor to the unnamed and forgotten? It’s not clear.

On the plus side, this was the first book I read as part of a new book club I joined. We met at a Mellow Muhsroom Pizza (another reminder of my Atlanta day! Mike and I used to play Simpsons trivia at a Mellow Mushroom near Piedmont Park) and afterwards watched the game (World Cup – Costa Rica versus Greece) and have a few drinks. Or, at least, I did. The game was like the book, okay, but really not great.

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