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All The Names (Panther S.) Paperback – 1 Jun 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New e. edition (1 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860467202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860467202
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A tantalizing novel...shifting and teasing, full of metaphorical labyrinths and false trails" (Herald)

"Offers an unearthly, muted beauty; a freedom from the obvious, the ideological and trivial; an atmosphere of profound serenity, and a benevolent humor" (Literary Review)

"It is the marriage of the living and the dying...that so strongly characterizes the writing of Jose Saramago" (New Statesman)

"The Swedish Academy's citation called his novels "parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony." It is a description which perfectly captures his latest novel" (The Times)

"Both delightful and unsettling which is perhaps the mark of true literature" (Anthony Daniels Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

A subtle and insightful story about boredom, passion, curiosity and memory from the Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
All the Names tells the story of a meek man, a worker in a Central Registry that seems almost infinite in size, with a Kafka-like quality to the structure and disciplines within. Senhor Jose is quiet and dedicated, with only a hobby of collecting titbits on famous people to occupy him.
He breaches all of the Registry's regulations, risking his job and his home, in order to copy details from the record cards for his collection. By chance, a record card of an ordinary woman comes his way, and his curiousity becomes an obsession, as he sets out to trace this woman, no matter what the cost.
Senhor Jose sets himself a quest, an arbitrary quest, but one which gives his mundane life meaning. The book is a detective story, a love story, a story about the oppression of authority and the way that people can overcome that oppression by finding small moments of joy.
The book is comic, sad and full of meaning. Saramago writes a highly significant book, yet uses simple prose to tell the story, making the themes all the more effective.
In my view, this is the closest thing there has been to the Perfect Novel. If you've ever read any Borges, Kafka or Calvino then you should discover Saramago as quickly as you can.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most engrossing, absorbing and challenging books that I have read this year. The deceptive simplicity of the plot, which I do not wish to give away, is belied by the fabulous richness and complexity of the language Saramago uses. It deals with such diverse themes as loneliness, obsession, self-doubt, personal development and fruition with a mastery I have rarely seen equalled. A literary triumph, and a deserving Nobel-Prize winner.
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By A Customer on 27 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
More actually happens in this book than in Ricardo Reis but it is full of the same profound understanding of one man's soul and mind. You really live with Jose as he wanders through the registry, dodging the cobwebs with him and plodding the streets of Lisbon in the same rain, sensing the same reckless thrill at taking a taxi (an unheard of luxury) and almost sharing his passion for the lives othres and in particular one lady's.
It is incredibly lyrical and it sweeps you along, the sense of involvement with him is a a product of the wonderful storytelling skills of Saramago. Though I can read Portuguese, i read this in English and I think it is a fine translation as were the earlier translations by the great Giovanni Pontiero. He is not an easy author to translate as the books are so full of Portuguese myths and references to the Lusiads.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I loved it for its deceptive simplicity and its main character Senor Jose, a very brave man about whom I began to care deeply.

'All the names' is a clever book that draws you into the monotonous and mundane world of a middle-aged civil servant and then gives you an extraordinary story within the framework of a well thought-out philosophy about life, love and death. This novel explores the consequences of sustained loneliness, personal development and how how the living of our modern world rub shoulders with the dead. We are caught up with Senor Jose's quest to learn more about the 'unknown woman.' We tremble with him as he braves his fear of heights and roots around like a stalker in someone's else's life. We worry about the lows he experiences, the effect of his obsession on his mental health and how he risks everything to fulfill his quest to the bitter end. Finally, we applaud his bravery and obvious strength of character in the face of exposure.

An uplifting book, where 'every man' triumphs. Highly recommended for the thoughtful.
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Format: Paperback
The 1998 Nobel Laureate has given us yet another wholly unique book. It's a shame to think what he might have done if he hadn't given up serious fiction writing for nearly forty years. All The Names is beautiful meditation on death, and its place in life, that ends nearly as enigmatically as it begins. Senhor Jose and his obbsessive quest for the unknown woman, unknowingly aided by his boss, the Registrar, brings to mind the surreal worlds of Kafka, but in a way that Saramago makes his own. Some readers might well be put of by Saramago's rather idosyncratic styles of narration and punctuation, but I found it easier to follow than his earlier novels, as the dialogue is kept to a minimum, but in the end Saramgo's tremendous narrative gift, and sheer wisdom, overwhelm any oddity in style.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Nobel Prize Winner for Literature (for Blindness) in 1998, Jose Saramago is not an immediately accessible writer. Conversation is rendered in undifferentiated paragraphs and there are long, dense passages when his protagonists are involved in self-questioning or musing on something not particularly germane to the plot. The plot itself often spirals beyond immediate concerns - and yet Jose Saramago is also captivating in ways that other writers seldom dare to attempt. Intellectually demanding, he nevertheless commands attention in the originality of his style and his vision. It gradually creeps up on you - and you are hooked.

All the Names concerns Senhor Jose, a lowly clerk, unmarried, around fifty years-old, working in the Central Registry for Births, Deaths, Marriage and Divorce. Saramago stresses the rigid bureaucracy of this institution and one thinks of Kafka - especially when it comes to the archives, which spread forth in ever-increasing girth and weight, threatening to engulf the attendants who minister to it. Senhor Jose's hobby is collecting information from magazines, and from the Registry, about the lives of famous people, but one day an extra card adheres to those he has borrowed from the Registry to copy. The card contains the details of a woman, not famous or extraordinary in any way, but Senhor Jose becomes obsessed with tracking this elusive nobody down and finding out what happened in her life.

His adventures lead him into all kinds of danger, as he commits burglary, forgery, sustains injury, makes himself ill, tells lies and puts his job in jeopardy in the pursuance of his obsession. The ending of the novel holds profound messages for us all - though Senor Jose's mission is by no means at an end.
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