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|Rather than portraying Joseph as a mere carpenter, Jose Saramago recreates the man as a fascinating and complex character, tormented by guilt and remorse for electing to save his child over alerting the population of Herods intentions. The novel that shocked the Catholic world presents a mundane vision of the events surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, from his birth and the discovery of love to his existential crisis on the meaning and role of his life|
Born into a poor family in Azinhaga, near Lisbon, Saramago was raised in the capital city. He studied at the university part-time, supporting himself as a metalworker. His first novel, TERRA DE PECCADO (Country of sin, 1947) was not a success, but its publication enabled Saramago to leave his job and join the staff of a Portuguese literary magazine. A Communist who outspokenly opposed the right-wing dictatorship of Antonio Salazar, Saramago wrote and published journalism, travel books, and poetry, writing fiction again only in 1974 when the Salazar regime fell after a military uprising. He was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in literature for "parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony."