JOSE VS. THE MAN: Back in 1980, 18 years before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jose Saramago was a newspaper deputy editor who got canned from his job (nobody treats deputy editors right, do they?).
He penned a big, fat novel that lets us know exactly how he was feeling, “Raised from the Ground: A Novel” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa.
Here we meet the Mau Tempo family — poor peasants — and follow them in their travails and misfortunes against the privileged> We hear that wry, mischievous narrator’s voice that Saramago went on to perfect in a novel like “Baltasar and Blimunda”; and we relish the prose: “Ah, but life is a game too, a playful exercise, playing is a very serious, grave, even philosophical act…”
Classic Saramago, and to think: This was only the beginning for him.
A recent post on Letters of Note, a worthy site maintained by Shaun Usher, offers in a letter the inspirational insights of Ted Hughes to his son, Nicholas.
You should check it out.
What unexpectedly resonated for me — beyond the power and unique metaphors of Hughes’ insights — was something quite science fictiony and unexpected …
Suddenly, I was thinking of Frank Herbert’s novel “God Emperor of Dune” which I decided to reread this holiday season (I can’t even explain what made me pick it up again – did Santa make me think of sandworms?).
Near the end of Hughes’ letter, he alludes to an ancient bit of wisdom: “And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.” That, I realized, is exactly what the man-turned-Worm Leto II experiences — all the voices of House Atreides speaking through him.
- Gerald Hughes – Ted and I (2012) Review (phdavies.wordpress.com)
- Ted Hughes (rikrawling.wordpress.com)
- The Science Fiction Alphabet: H is for Herbert (scifibookreader.wordpress.com)
- Dune Take (thebrassragcnr.wordpress.com)
- Belief’s in a bag of chips, or an ashtray: not-so-new-in-bookstores (nickowchar.wordpress.com)