Sonia Gomes's Reviews > Todos los nombres

Todos los nombres by José Saramago
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's review
May 01, 11

bookshelves: portuguese, very-good, what-category-does-this-book-fit-in, nobel-laureates
Recommended for: Saramago Fans
Read on January 01, 2011, read count: Once

Senhor Jose is a simple man, he has the job of a lower division clerk at Central Registry of Births and Deaths. As the salary is small he leads a simple frugal life with hardly any luxuries. But Sr. Jose has a hobby, he collects pictures and details of famous people; actors, actresses, even bishops. Here he was updating his collection one fine day, when he gets an idea.'Why don't I add all those details which are so often hidden from the press, to my collection, after all, all it took was some midnight excursions to the bowels of the Registry, deep in the night!' Sr. Jose lived next door to the massive Registry and had the connecting key. So he got into the habit of these midnight excursions, gave him the sense of an adventurer, climbing that tall ladder (he is afraid of heights) cobwebs brushing, stickily clinging to his face. Sr. Jose lives for his midnight adventures, for once after 26 years of impeccable service, Sr. Jose is distracted and shoddy in appearance, gets pulled up. Things move on well, until he picks up the file of the Unknown Woman. Is it destiny ? Sr. Jose then embarks on a quest to find the Unknown Woman's life with gusto. Forges credentials, visits her apartment, meets the Lady of the Ground Floor to the Right, who tells him that she was the Godmother of the Unknown Woman and in her youth was involved in an affair with the Unknown Woman's father. Visits the Unknown Woman's school, robs her photographs and her file. Spends the night in the School, robs food, breaks a window. We see Sr. Jose transformed into a Midnight Adventurer on his quest. And then he stumbles upon Unknown Woman's Death Certificate. Does he give up? Not at all, he looks for her grave, turns out the Unknown Woman had committed suicide. Why ? Sr. Jose not very concerned, by now he is more concerned with the quest. This is Sr. Jose's quest of his own life, in the search for the Unknown Woman, he uncovers facets of himself that he never knew existed. He does things that makes him wonder at himself, he meets people that become his friends. Now he has a life, forgotten is the collection of the famous people. He has his life full of adventure, why be a voyeur of others lives!
He gets out of his staid life of 26 years and rediscovers another Sr. Jose hidden deep down within himself.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jayaprakash (new)

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy One of my mother's favourite books. I look forward to reading it as well.

Sonia Gomes You should, it is a quaint book!

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