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Sometimes you e…

August 25, 2012

Sometimes you encounter a voice in literature that stuns you completely and totally – that writes prose the only way that it should feel like it was ever written for you, the reader. You, the individual reader. It is an incredible feeling. I’ve felt it rarely. But it can be incredible when you do.

 

And I think I have a couple times in the past year, as I have continued my search for new authors to connect with. Nadine Gordimer has entered my life – and she writes with the most generous selection of perfect words imagineable. Vladimir Nabokov has submerged me into his world of awe and energy and tension – unbelievable tension. And then there is Jose Saramago.

 

Jose Saramago.

 

What can be said about this man’s prose and the way that it swallowed me completely – in a way that I never thought a novel would. A man whose prose is perfectly collected from the vastness of the Portuguese language (and then, almost more impressively, translated into the rhythm of the English language) and descriptive. Reading him earlier this summer was like having my language opened up and turned out, and then ground up, and then new words opened up somehow and you didn’t know that they existed and they are on your plate and they are perfect. Jose Saramago is like a new kind of food, using the same ingredients you have always used, but arranging them in such a manner that they taste completely, perfectly different.

 

I add these three to the list that already exists, containing J.M. Coetzee and Alice Munro.

 

These five pillars of the literary experience, must be read. If you are unfamiliar with them, collect them. Consume them and digest them and let them alter you. They are fine, fine writers who make worlds believable.

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