José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora's Reviews > Conversas de Escritores

Conversas de Escritores by José Rodrigues dos Santos
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I've read some of JRS novels. But this is better than his novels. He should dedicate more time and writing to interviews.

This is a compilation of 10 interviews with 10 writers*. Next I'll present just some interesting sparse notes deriving from the interview with Nobel prize Saramago. Maybe later will add some other authors.
JRS first time talk with Saramago was in a flight to Sweden (December 1998) for the Nobel prize ceremony. The second time was on TV: about the post-Nobel novel “A Caverna”.The third time (11 years later) was in Galveias palace library: a place chosen by the writer, because it was "here" that Saramago discovered literature.

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Topics approached in the interview:

(1) Polemic saying “Bible is a manual of bad costumes/habits” is commented. That aplies mainly to Old Testament.
A book in 1947 … Terra de Pecado…then a long period with nothing significant.
One yet to be published: Claraboia: only after his death.

(2)International recognition came only with “Memorial de Convento”.

(3)Regarding insults to God in "Cain"(son of a b****): that was a bit too much, Saramago recognized; but not “for free”….Saramago said God has "no father or mother".

(4)What is a good novel?; the writer agreed with Kafka: one spark ("acha") capable of breaking the icy sea of our consciousness. He doesn’t agree that the novel is soon to become extinct.

(5)Yes, he’s got a tendency to paradox like Borges.

(6)Like water to the body, Literature is 70% language.

(7)In schools (12th grade): his book “Memorial de convento” shouldn’t be compulsory: 12th graders are not prepared; it should be JR Miguéis “Escola do Paraíso” instead.

(8)Why so many “commas” and people's names not in capital letters? Saramago: to get closer the oral speech to the written one. He's fond of the "break with the established order".

(9)Saramago translated more than 60 books;but a writer is primarily a translator: translating his feelings and ideas...into words/language.

(10)He will never approach the Koran: because“I am soaked in Christianism”…

(11) The book “A viagem do Elefante” is dedicated to wife Pilar who didn’t “let me die”. He went to a near death experience: he saw on the wall 4 luminous points: one irregular parallelogram….he thought those points were “himself".

By the end of the interview I was struggling at least with two questions: (a) why 12th graders are not prepared? what so transcendent about that, it's not yet time to approach/read ....(b) what it takes to be prepared?

Notes on interview with Paulo Coelho:

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The interviewer confronted PC: he’s contested in the Brazilian Academy of Letters and by the critics, though selling so well (135 million readers?).PC made a pact with the devil?. PC didn’t comment; said the guy who did his Biography was a communist named Fernando Morais: obsessed with “success” and forgot the spiritual aspect of PC; so the author didn’t recognize himself in that biography. PC acknowledged he’s a rich man (member of the super class?) but the money is applied in his Institute: for children and the elder people. On his books:
-“Na margem do Rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei” is about the feminine face of God.
-O vencedor está só: about the cinema super class.
-A bruxa de Portobelo: about a new vision of the universe and the feminine face of God.
-Zahir is a bit autobiographical.

*Ian McEwan,Luís Sepúlveda,Sveva C. Modignani,Paulo Coelho,Miguel Sousa Tavares,Isabel Allende,Günter Grass,Jeffrey Archer,José Saramago,Dan Brown.
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly interesting, especially no.8. maybe we shouldn't capitalize any letter anymore?

José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora interesting question,yours.I'm really conservative. There's an ongoing change in Portuguese orthography...and I am annoyed with it. Instead of "aspecto" [meaning aspect] people should write "aspeto"; and many more cases. Why not? my view: words lose meaning with new orthography.It's the etimology that is lost.
But modern times...are modern!,...I mean messaging and texting and all sort of medern gadgetery will impose (unfortunately?) changes in language: spoken and written.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I think language is now becoming pure sound with no more spelling or proper letters. even in the written language the aim is to create the sound of the word and no longer its correct spelling. We wil jes b lyk d enemals hu dont rite. Dey kemyeniket tru sawnds.

José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora Absolutely!! Sound.For a while I thought I was reading Dutch (your last sentences)...then I concluded: it's "sound" English. But to read those phrases you need to apply English Phonetic rules: otherwise they don't make sense at all.
But that language move is dangerous: convert any great prose into those "sound" sentences and what you get: ugly!(my view).Conversily: you can "educate" a whole generation able to read,yet unable to write...properly

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly someday a writer will write a novel based on "sound." They've tried everything apart from that already. It seems. Last week I saw a novel with ALL its sentences ending with a question mark (?). Will you be the one to try it? It will be a novelty? Even the birds will buy the book and read it? And the title? The Sound Novel? The Novel of Sound? The Sound of New Sick?

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