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Small Memories [Hardcover]

Jose Saramago , Margaret Jull Costa Costa
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £11.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Nov 2009
‘Let yourself be led by the child you were.’ The Book of Exhortations Born in Portugal in 1922 in the tiny village of Azinhaga, José Saramago was only eighteen months old when he moved with his father and mother to live in a series of cramped lodgings in a working-class neighbourhood of Lisbon. Nevertheless, he would return to the village throughout his childhood and adolescence, its river landscape and olive groves seeping deep into his memory. Shifting back and forth between Azinhaga and Lisbon, this touching book is a mosaic of memories, a gathering together of the fragmented recollections that make up the idea of one’s youth. Lust, love, humiliation, aspiration - the raptures and miseries of childhood are beautifully captured: Saramago’s grandparents bringing the weaker piglets into their bed to keep them warm; the young José proudly carrying his first balloon on a string, only to be mocked by two strangers as it empties of air, the shrivelled remains dragging behind him; his first encounter with literature as he listens entranced to a friend’s mother reading out weekly instalments of Maria, the Fairy of the Forest, and the seven-year-old José doggedly teaching himself to read by deciphering articles in the daily newspaper brought home by his father. Written with Saramago’s characteristic wit and honesty, Small Memories traces the formation of an artist fascinated by words and stories from an early age and who emerged, against all the odds, as one of the world’s most respected writers.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (5 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184655148X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846551482
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 876,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

José Saramago was born in Portugal in 1922 and has been a full-time writer since 1979. His oeuvre embraces plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and novels, which have been translated into more than forty languages and have established him as the most influential Portuguese writer of his generation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

Product Description


'a moving account of his childhood and adolescence...Small Memories will delight British readers'
--The Spectator

`The great thing about this memoir of boyhood is how unportentous it is for the most part'

'Much praised' --The Bookseller

Book Description

A delightful insight into the formation of an artist who would become one of the world's most respected writers. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small Memories, great connection 16 Dec 2009
There are books you love unquestioningly, like a child loves its parent. This is one such book for me. I read the original Portuguese and was expecting the translation not not cope with the colourful Saramago language when I got hold of this translation. It doesn't, not fully, not trully. There is something missing there, as if the evocative quality of the original prose had lost some of its flavor and scent and feel. But I guess that's the price you pay. And it shouldn't stop you from reading, from letting yourself think "yeah, it's a different place, different people, but I've been there, done that (well, some of it anyway!) The universal appeal is that we've all been children, young we've all seen the world through different eyes and most of us, still find it hard to believe that the years have gone by, that we now have a wealth of memories. Not the big ones, the important life changing, world altering memories of a Nobel prize writer, but the small, day to day, bread and butter kind of memories. That's what makes the author universal and the connection to the reader work.
A beautiful, simple book that does not need such a grand edition of the hard back.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended by the Sunday newspapers 24 Sep 2013
By Su Den
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this book having read excellent reviews, it meandered through the authors life but lacked focus and wit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small memories 17 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like Saramago this is another well written work about his childhood with many anecdotes about growing up in a small town in Portugal. The usual Saramago style of writing is used and I found it very gentle and full of his unique warmth of humanity.
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