Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Saramago has blended fact and fiction in much the same way as Marquez and others use magical realism, to create. Baltasar and Blimunda has ratings and reviews. Henry said: King John V (the Magnanimous) of Portugal, is a frustrated man, to continue the r. BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA By Jose Saramago. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. pp. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $

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After having read all his novels, however, I’d rank this one amongst my least favourites. Still it provides a good overview of Saramago’s intentions with his historical novels; he wanted to give voice to those whom history has silenced – the workers, the peasants, the poors. Telling the story of the construction of a giant convent that bankrupt the nation and led to thousands of deaths from the perspective of its workers is quite unique.

As for his style, his beautiful prose, it’s crucial to retain that the most important character is always the narrator, who’s garrulous, omniscient but also intimate, wise but also homely, storyteller and essayst. If you’re willing to read more Saramago, Raised from the Ground is his definitive love letter to communism and a great epopee about civil rights struggles, and All the Name and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis are his best novels.

He is very high on my TBR pile but for some reason or other I always pick another book before. Howvere I don’t have this book, I have the one that has been made into a movie but cannot remember the English title now my copy is in German. Something about blind people. I think it also contains very strong criticism of governments. I wasn’t awrae b,imunda is writing style is this modernist but I suppose he is still quite readable or he wouldn’t be so widely read.

Blimunxa English it’s called Blindness. It’s also a very good novel, although I prefer the sequel, Seeing; I think it speaks more to our current problems. His style seems difficult but it’s just a matter of adjustment. What’s important to retain is that Saramago is very funny, very sarcastic, very gentle, very humane, very sensitive. Reading him is a great experience for the soul. Miguel – Thanks for the recommendations.

I am definitely wanting to read more Saramago as I really liked this ahd. Your assessment of the best books is helpful. Harold Bloom, the very controversial literary critic, rated Baltasar boimunda Blimunda as best work. I agree with your assessment of his writing style and skill, your additives are right on the money!

Too bad I do not know the native language and must read a translation. Caroline – I definitely recommend this one. I did not read Blindness but did see the movie. I thought that the film was outstanding. Sarah’s just ane up commentary over at her blog on that book.


By the outset I have a blimubda feeling for this book. I haven’t read Saramago beyond two books though.

Thanks for your kind words. Which books have you read by Saramago? What did you think of them? I have only read two. Elephant’s journey and Blindness. Elephant journey took some time to get imbibe in.

Baltasar and Blimunda | work by Saramago |

I love the insight of Saramago. He gives a good vantage of this thoughts. As I mentioned above I saw the movie and was very impressed by it. I agree, Saramago expresses his thinking very nicely. His anv and allegories are a joy to read.

Thank you so much for all the comments you leave on my blog!! They’re always so supportive, and well thought-out. In regards to your comment on my “Shelf Candy Saturday’ meme, I’m so glad that you’re enjoyingthis feature!! I’d like to invite you to participate with your own Shelf Candy post, if you’re interested.

I’m sure you’d showcase some great covers! I’ve just finished reading your review of “Baltasar and Blimunda”, which I loved!! All of your reviews baltawar so interesting, so informative. I can really get a good picture of the book you’re reviewing, This book sounds like a challenging, although ultimately rewarding, read. I’ve heard of Saramago before — he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, after all — but have never read anything by him.

From your description of the plot, it seems he can be categorized as a magic realist, right along with Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In spite of the fact that, like you, I don’t quite agree with all of this author’s baltazar views, I’m placing this book in my TBR pile. I really enjoy reading literary fiction, and ahd, I think, be reading more of it, especially when written by an innovative master like Saramago.

Thanks for the terrific review!! Hi Maria – this book can be definitely by classified as Magical Realism. Though as per my summery there were some very fanciful aspects to the plot.

However the book does not have the constant incredible but charming happenings on page after page that are characteristic of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have not read Allende. The Shelf Candy Meme seems like such fun and great idea. It is one of the most interesting memes out there. Time management AKA – I am so busy!: However, It is tempting to join in as I think that I could pull it off with a minimum of additional writing.

Thanks again for your praise, you are too kind: I haven’t read Saramago and I’m not sure I will. Perhaps I’m not an adventurous reader–or perhaps just not adventurous enough. I get annoyed when the style interferes with the story and I find myself backtracking to understand who is speaking. Did this happen to you when you read this? Hi Guy – I had a moderate amount of the confusion that you referenced. As I noted, if everything that read was like this it would drive me crazy!

Once in while, it is kind of like trying an exotic food with very unusual flavors, one would not want to eat it every night, but occasionally it is a nice change of pace! I am not sure if all of Saramago’s books are like this. You are right, he can be ‘different’, and deliciously irreverent, though blijunda illogical.


Thank you for this recommendation!

Hi Amritorupa – I like the adjectives that you used. For such an unusual and fanciful plot, I agree the book was not illogical. Thanks for your recommendation on those other books. I think that I will indeed be reading more Saramago! Hi VB – Based upon the books that you seem to like on your blog, I think that you would really like this one.

Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago is a wondrous but challenging read. The book was originally written in Portuguese. Giovanni Pontiero translated it into English. Saramago was a highly esteemed Portuguese novelist, poet, playwright and journalist. This is the first work of his that I have tried.

Saramago died in Though my knowledge of literary theory is limited, I would define this novel as written in a modernist style.

Saramago uses few traditional sentences.

Baltasar and Blimunda Summary & Study Guide

Most of the narrative consists of strings of thoughts, separated by commas. There are no apostrophes indicating dialogue. Though topics are connected, the subject at hand often shifts quickly and, at times, randomly. I would not exactly call the style a stream of conciseness; rather, I would call it a stream of life.

The point of view is generally third person but at times this shifts suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes the narrator seems to be neutral and without character; at other times he seems to be an observer from the far future, at a few points he even seems to be God. This unconventional form seems to be an attempt to portray the world as it happens, without the artificial rules of grammar and traditional writing.

I enjoyed this unusual writing style. Certainly I would not want everything that I read to reflect this approach, but I appreciate the creativity involved and it is nice to try something different for a change. The setting of the book is early eighteenth century Portugal.

The plot is very unusual but very imaginative in construction as well as presentation. Oddly enough, this book can be considered an historical novel as many of the characters and events portrayed are real and fact based.

Baltasar and Blimunda Summary & Study Guide

Baltasar is a former soldier who has lost his left hand in battle. Early in the haltasar he meets Blimunda, a woman with mystical powers.

Blimunda has a host of magical and psychic abilities. She possesses X – ray vision and has some talent for precognition, along with other magical skills.