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Exclusive: read the José Saramago short story, Revenge, from The Lives of Things

Tamar Shlaim25 April 2012

The Lives of Things by José Saramago is published today, the 38th anniversary of Portugal's Carnation Revolution. One of the stories, Revenge, is published today in the Morning Star: 

The boy was coming from the river. Barefoot, with his trousers rolled up above his knees, his legs covered in mud.

He was wearing a red shirt, open in front where the first hairs of puberty on his chest were beginning to blacken. He had dark hair, damp with the sweat that was trickling down his slender neck. He was bent slightly forward under the weight of the long oars, from which were hanging green strands of water-weeds still dripping. The boat kept swaying in the murky water, and nearby, as if spying, the globulous eyes of a frog suddenly appeared. Then the frog moved suddenly and disappeared. A minute later the surface of the river was smooth and tranquil and shining like the boy's eyes. The exhalation of the mud released slow, flaccid bubbles of gas which were swept away by the current. In the oppressive heat of the afternoon, the tall poplars swayed gently, and, in a flurry, like a flower suddenly blossoming in mid-air, a blue bird flew past, skimming the water. The boy raised his head. On the other side of the river, a girl was watching him without moving. The boy raised his free hand and his entire body traced out some inaudible word. The river flowed slowly...

Visit the Morning Star to read the full story . 


Filed under: excerpts