The widow, by José Saramago

Great writers like Saramago They are the ones who keep their works current at all times. Because when a work contains that humanity distilled into literary alchemy, the sublimation of existence is achieved. The topic of the transcendence of an artistic or literary legacy then reaches that true relevance that makes it timeless.

The 25-year-old José Saramago who presented this novel to the world glimpsed his vital horizon with that imperative need to bear witness. Something that happens to every writer who holds deep down, under a thousand and one motivations that disguise that intention, the ultimate will to transmit the part of humanity that he has to decipher. The style is always polished to the best, the wefts can be outlined with greater success. The serenity of an older age confers from other more complete nuances especially in the form. But the bottom of the genius, the sediment, ends up being discovered even better in a youthful work like this one.

After the death of her husband, Maria Leonor, mother of two children, feels overwhelmed by the difficulties in managing her estate in Alentejo, the expectations of society and the tight control of her environment. After a few months in a deep depression, she decides to finally face her responsibility as the owner of the land, but her heart is tormented by a secret sin: despite the mourning, her desire has not been quenched.

Amid musings about the essence of love, the passage of time and the dazzling changes in nature, the young widow spends her nights awake, spying on the loves of her maids and suffering from her own loneliness. Until two very different men break into her life and her fate unexpectedly falters.

Written in 1947, The widow is the author's first novel, which was published in Portugal under the title of Terra do sin by decision of the editor. Today, when the author's centenary is celebrated, it is published for the first time in Spanish, respecting its original title, this story written by a young José Saramago, who anticipates the great writer we all know. In it, his personal way of looking at the world and some of the characteristics of his most acclaimed novels is already present: the extraordinary narrative force and an unforgettable female character.

You can now buy the novel «La viuda», by José Saramago, here:


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