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The Notebook

A lyrical and thought-provoking record of the last year in the life of the Nobel Prize–winning novelist.

Thought-provoking and lyrical, The Notebook records the last year in the life of José Saramago. In these pages, beginning on the eve of the 2008 US presidential election, he evokes life in his beloved city of Lisbon, revisits conversations with friends, and meditates on his favorite authors. Precise observations and moments of arresting significance are rendered with pointillist detail, and together demonstrate an acute understanding of our times. Characteristically critical and uncompromising, Saramago dissects the financial crisis, deplores Israel’s punishment of Gaza, and reflects on the rise of Barack Obama. The Notebook is a unique journey into the personal and political world of one of the greatest writers of our time.


  • “Fascinating and smart and provocative, and a lot of fun to dip into.”
  • “In readably provocative style, with offbeat riffs on his life and writing, on ideas and histories … This is a bittersweet delight.”
  • “Saramago is one of Europe’s most original and remarkable writers ... His writing is imbued with a spirit of comic inquiry, meditative pessimism and a quietly transforming energy that turns the indefinite into the unforgettable.”
  • “In the craft of the sentence, José Saramago is one of the great originals. His prose is a voice that envelops all voices: it is like the universe’s immanent murmur ... No one writes quite like Saramago, so solicitous and yet so magnificently free.”
  • “The book presents an intelligent twist on the blogs-turned-books phenomenon, proving that the two mediums are compatible beyond social curios and cultural gimmicks.... The Notebook is a unique glimpse into the candid ruminations of one of the most talented living writers.”
  • “I’m hard pressed to think of another writer who makes me stop as Saramago does, to go back and discover the meaning of history or allegory in all its wild newness.”
  • “Saramago enjoys picking up a passing thought or an incident and running with it, confident in his political outrage, calm in his appreciation of friends, considered in his aphoristic criticism of culture.”
  • “Saramago is a writer, like Faulkner, so confident of his resources and ultimate destination that he can bring any improbability to life.”
  • “Beautifully crafted and honest, Saramago’s Notebook is elegant in tone and style while clearly conveying a legend’s take on our evolving society.”
  • “Impenitently enraged and tender.”
  • “The most gifted novelist alive in the world today.”


  • Verso's Holiday Gift Guide - radicalize the loved ones in your life!

    We know how hard it is to shop for gifts for your parents, or your sister's fiancé, or that anti-social co-worker you picked for secret santa. So we've made it easy with our top picks from the Verso catalog for everyone in your life.

    Plus every title is 50% off with FREE shipping for the rest of December!

    For more inspiration check out our FREE e-book sampler with highlights from our 2014 list, including pieces from Arundhati Roy, Benjamin Kunkel, Gabriella Coleman, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Shlomo Sand, Walter Benjamin and Slavoj Žižek.


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  • Selections from The Notebook, May 26: José Saramago on weapons and human destiny

    In celebration of the new paperback edition of José Saramago's The Notebook, Verso is pleased to present another of the acclaimed author's elegant and astute observations on contemporary culture and politics. The publication of excerpts selected from his blog began on April 20 in lead-up to the release of the new edition and to commemorate Saramago's passing on June 18, 2010.

    On May 26, 2009, Saramago's mind was on the production and sale of armaments. Contemplating the kind of nefarious political infrastructure necessary to allow such a global flow of destruction, his thoughts turn to the potential for human kind to liberate itself from this economy of violence...

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  • "A cautious memoirist who ends with a laugh"—José Saramago reviewed in The New York Times

    Writing on May 10, Dwight Garner of The New York Times reviewed Small Memories, the latest book to be released by the acclaimed novelist José Saramago

    The slim memoir joins The Notebook (now available in paperback from Verso) as one of Saramago's last, "a distillation of some of the central recollections of Saramago's youth." Garner reports that while "it's mostly a vague and distracted book," the memories that it presents are "echoing ones." 

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Other books by José Saramago Translated by Daniel Hahn and Amanda Hopkinson Preface by Umberto Eco