Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12

    The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago

    The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (in Portuguese: O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis) is a novel by the Portuguese novelist José Saramago, the winner of the 1998. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1998).
    Instead of a printed book I read the electronic format in Portuguese (Brazilian) and French, reading the first half in Portuguese and the second part in French.
    José Saramago wrote The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis . In my opinion, it is a novel that could also be considered a "historical novel", If the protagonist had partcipated in the slightest manner in the oilital events that took place in the years 1935-1936. But with the magical-realist elements, he uses, it’ more a romance..
    Unless it is an attempt to extend the personality of the poet Fernando Pessoa who died in 1935, albeit in the form of a vision during December 1935 and into 1936, giving him another chance another chance to express himself on the threatening international events that dominated Europe a year after his death.

    Having visited Lisbon three times in a hurry, fr work work, with his endless wanderings in the streets of this city, this time I was given the mental opportunity to experience them again, through Google Earth, in every neighborhood and every street that visited and which has been largely maintained in the state it was then.

    Pessoa had left South Africa with his family as a child, but returned to Portugal, and this looks like a similar move by the protagonist, Ricardo Reis, also a doctor and poet, who after 16 years in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) returns to Lisbon. The latter brings me associations because I have also lived in Brazil.

    For some reason, not by coincidence, the hero of the play, has as a name a "heteronym" of the many used by F. Pessoa, and specifically for his Odes, which he quotes in discussions or thoughts as his own hero project.

    In his first meeting at the hotel, Pessoa explains that just as the newborn lives in the body of his pregnant mother and becomes visible only in the ninth month, in a similar way, the dead person remains present even after his death, although he no one can see him,.
    The author does not leave us gaps either for the place where the various events of the plot take place, but also about the character of the hero, since he narrates them here and there, sometimes in the first person, sometimes in the third person, sometimes he menthios him to the women who play an important role in the plot of the book, or to the Chief of the Police who interrogates him.
    In the Hotel Braganca he meets the maid Lydia, a muse of his poems. But also another young woman, Marcenda, crippled in one arm, whom he sees for a few days when she comes to Lisbon from Coimbra with her father under the pretext of her father accompanying her to her doctors who take care of her.

    The story of the book takes place at a time when the beginning of the dictatorial regime of Salazar in Portugal coincides with the beginning of the Spanish army uprising in Morocco that begins the Spanish Civil War for the domination of Franco, the culmination of the Italian attack on Abyssynia, on Hitler's challenge to the Treaty of Versailles following the entry of the German army into the Rhineland and a series of social and military uprisings in Brazil instigated by big landowners.

    A romantic character, self-centered, with limited ability to handle practical matters of his daily life, nor emotionally mature to make decisions about the pregnancy of the maid Lydia, shows difficulties in participating in life, as we see him lonely in her celebration New Year's Eve when things are thrown from the balconies, a custom that I have also encountered in Italy.

    His thoughts on international events happening in other European countries show a man with conservative views.

    The hotel where he stays for the first time, is a miniature of their own life, as it contrasts much more when he moves to a house he rents where his daily service stumbles upon problems that show a lack of planning of her needs. of his daily life and at the same time the limits of orientations.

    The "New State" (Estado Novo) that Salazar established in Portugal does not seem to bother him at first. But the undercover police and the world of informants who appear to check on him at every meeting, start to worry him.

    At some point, Lydia moves his shaky political conscience, as she begins to feel that not only her brother is involved in a subversive move but also others around him who will send him back for questioning about his alleged past in Brazil.

    There was, in fact, systematic censorship and surveillance of those citizens who could express themselves politically for or against states preparing for conflict in Europe. According to Salazar, Portugal had to remain "neutral" because England wanted to keep her rihgts on the Portuguese colonies, which were "disproportionately large and large compared to small Portugal”, as British politicians had claimed.

    Those who have not read about the Spanish Civil War, may be confused with the names of various phalanx leaders in Morocco (before Franco took over) or prime ministers of Spain's democratically elected government (or "Popular Front") in Madrid.

    It does not impress me that the developments in the Spanish Civil War are properly described. On the contrary, the description of the uprising in units of the Navy, creates tension and emotion, with the reader seeking the solution in the development of the book that is approaching the end. This is because the involvement of Lydia's brother, with whom Ricardo Reyes has an affair, is not a simple newspaper reading.

    The end of the book is like one of the methods of classical music called "Imperfect cadence‘‘ i.e. an end that does not bring the solution after the climax, but keeps the music pending and uncertainty so that the listener (here in the book, the reader) is to solve it himself.

    With all of the above, I generally liked the book and insisted on finishing it, even in the electronic form I had at my disposal.
    I would recommend it to my friends. I would gladly listen to comments from others, which may be, I would say, different from my own.

  2. #2
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    Thanks for posting your comment, Nicos. I read only part of the book, until New Year´s Eve, I think. I like Saramago, his descriptions are usually wonderful, but not having ever been to Lissabon, when the impact would certainly have been quite different I got a bit tired of all those walks through the capital of Portugal. Also I disliked the dichotomy, the maid for enjoyment, the lady for marriage.
    From you account it seems that the political events take place after I gave up on the book. I can remember only his life at the hotel and his long walks.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    You may be right, because the novel gave me the opportunity to see again the streets where he walked thoughout the story. I read it because it was proposed in a Book Discussion Club, online through Zoom, and they usualle people feel obliged to compete each other praising it. That's why I made a presentation, to ask for a chance for a different view. Besides Ricardo Reis didn't take any part in the political events. He was just a newspaper reader.

  4. #4
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    It must be difficult to make an interesting novel with such a passive character in spite of the ebullient political background. From your account it seems that RR remains an observer to the end.
    However one of the great qualities of Saramago's novels are his wonderful descriptions. I think anyone who knows Lissabon must enjoy the book.
    I wonder why you read part of it in French.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    I had both texts in Portuguese and French, I started with the Portuguese, but I found that I could continue faster with the French edition. It made no difference because all names of streets etc were written the same in both languages and I could trace them with Google Earth.
    I which language you started reading it?

  6. #6
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    In Portuguese.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    Are you Brazilian?

  8. #8
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    Yes....
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    I have lived 4 years in Sao Paulo.

  10. #10
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    That´s where I live. Where are you from?
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    Athens, Greece.

  12. #12
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    How wonderful, Nicos. At the heart of western civilization. Athens is one of the cities I would like to know. Why did you move to S. Paulo?
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  13. #13
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cayman Palms, Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands
    Posts
    6,196
    Blog Entries
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    How wonderful, Nicos. At the heart of western civilization. Athens is one of the cities I would like to know. Why did you move to S. Paulo?
    Waiting to know....

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    How wonderful, Nicos. At the heart of western civilization. Athens is one of the cities I would like to know. Why did you move to S. Paulo?
    Quote Originally Posted by tonywalt View Post
    Waiting to know....
    We have to discuss about the book first.
    Later we can discuss why I lived in Sao Paulo.

  15. #15
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    7,238
    Of course, Nicos. The thread is about the book. And you don´t have to tell, why you lived in São Paulo if you don´t want to. I was just curious. All kinds of foreign people come to São Paulo, But Greeks are not so usual.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

Similar Threads

  1. Jose Saramago, 1923-2010
    By lupe in forum General Literature
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 06-21-2011, 04:29 AM
  2. Leaving San Jose
    By _Shannon_ in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-18-2011, 08:14 PM
  3. Saramago
    By Oomoo in forum General Literature
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 03-07-2008, 12:29 PM
  4. Ricardo Sternberg
    By mono in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-01-2005, 02:26 PM
  5. Jose Marti
    By amuse in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-06-2005, 03:19 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •