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Among the file-cards for the living and the dead, one - of an apparently ordinary woman - will transform his life. By day Senhor Jose labours in the labyrinthine stacks of the city's central registry. By night he ferrets for facts about the famous, compiling his own archive of births, deaths and marriages. One day he chances upon an index card of an ordinary woman whose details hold as much fascination for him as any celebrity's. Striking forth from the regimentation of his daily life, Jose starts to track the woman down, obsessively following a thread of clues in a bid to rescue her from an oblivion deeper than the grave.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860467202
ISBN-10: 1860467202
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 16mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Jun-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » The international importance of Portugal's most famous author was recognized in 1988 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This novel is one of his finest, exploring identity and the abuse of bureaucratic power with a sly, black humour. Set in the labyrinthine world of the central registry of births, marriages and deaths it follows a twisting Ariadne's thread that reaches from lowly clerk to an anonymous woman whose card he accidently draws. Developing an obsession to establish her identity he set out to investigate her life. The link between them, however, is more complex and dangerous than he suspects. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Jose Saramago

Born in Portugal in 1922, Jose Saramago was one of the most important writers of his generation. He was in his fifties when he came to prominence as a novelist with the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, including Blindness which was made into an acclaimed film. He has been translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on 18 June 2010, shortly after the Portuguese publication of Cain.

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