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ALL THE NAMES - Rare Fine Copy of The First American Edition/First Printing: Signed by Jose Saramago

Saramago, Jose (Translated by Margaret Jull Costa)

10,335 ratings by GoodReads
ISBN 10: 0151004218 / ISBN 13: 9780151004218
Published by New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 2000
Used Condition Fine Hardcover
From Modern Rare (CHICAGO, IL, U.S.A.) Quantity Available: 1
Available From More sellers View all  copies of this book

1st Printing. Signed. 238 pages. Published in 2000. The author's seventh novel to be translated into English. One of Jose Saramago's finest achievements. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Jose Saramago's "Todos os Nomes" in a felicitous English translation. "The deceptive simplicity of Saramago's prose and the ironic comments that he intersperses within this story of an obsessional quest initially have a disarming effect. One expects that this low-key exploration of a quiet man's eccentric descent into a metaphysical labyrinth will be an extremely intelligent but unexciting read. Within the first few pages, Saramago establishes a tension that sings on the page, rises, produces stunning revelations, and culminates when the final paragraph twists expectations once again. Saramago relates these events in finely honed prose pervaded with irony" (Publishers Weekly). As in all of his oeuvre, acutely so in his late, post-Nobel Prize work, Saramago re-visits and re-examines "the human condition", that otherwise exhausted inheritance from the idea and the reality called Europe and The Enlightenment, and sees it with fresh eyes through the prism of Apocalypse/"The End". He revitalizes and enlarges the novel through allegory. Often described as a satirist, Saramago's work goes much deeper, and he is perhaps the greatest modern literary ironist since Franz Kafka. An important distinction: A satirist mocks, makes fun of, and laughs at others; an ironist mocks, makes fun of, and laughs at himself, that is, makes us laugh at his pain. "Arguably the greatest writer of our time. He throws a dazzling flash of lightning on his subjects" (The Chicago Tribune). Saramago was an anomaly who came out of nowhere, seemingly born a genius. Every single page of every single book he has ever written makes the reader feel that he or she is in the hands of an unsurpassable Master. An absolute "must-have" title for Jose Saramago collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Jose Saramago. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. This title is a modern classic. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Among the Nobel Laureates and other great writers of our time, Saramago's signature was probably the most difficult to get because he rarely left Lanzarote, the island he moved to at the height of his fame. Now that he is dead, he isn't signing any more copies. And yet, signed copies of his books, while not exactly cheap, remain under-priced as compared to those of say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Cormac McCarthy. While they are great writers, Saramago will be regarded by posterity as a greater writer than both of them, and there is no British or American novelist of the last fifty years, living or dead, who comes close to Saramago's achievement (except, according to Harold Bloom, for Philip Roth at his best). A rare signed copy thus. Regarded by Harold Bloom as one of the two greatest novelists of our time (the other being Philip Roth), Jose Saramago will be read as probably the greatest European novelist of the last fifty years. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER JOSE SARAMAGO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0151004218. Bookseller Inventory # 18837

About this title:

Synopsis:

Senhor José is a low-grade clerk in the city's Central Registry, where the living and the dead share the same shelf space. A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death that are his daily preoccupations. In the evenings and on weekends, he works on bringing up to date his clipping file of the famous, the rising stars, the notorious. But when he comes across the birth certificate of an anonymous young woman, he decides that this cannot have been mere chance, that he has to discover more about her. Under the increasingly mystified eye of the Registrar, a godlike figure whose name is spoken only in whispers, the now obsessed Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that leads him to the unknown woman-but as he gets closer to a meeting with her, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would have wished. The loneliness of people's lives, the effects of chance and moments of recognition, the discovery of love, however tentative-once again José Saramago has written a timeless story.

Review: "As soon as you cross the threshold, you notice the smell of old paper." The Central Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths is the setting for All the Names, Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author José Saramago's seventh novel to be translated into English. The names in question are those of every man, woman, and child ever born, married, or buried in the unnamed city where the Registry is located, and are the special province of Senhor José who is employed there as a clerk. Over the centuries, the paper trail in this hopelessly arcane bureaucracy has grown so monumental, so disorganized that

one poor researcher became lost in the labyrinthine catacombs of the archive of the dead, having come to the Central Registry in order to carry out some genealogical research he had been commissioned to undertake. He was discovered, almost miraculously, after a week, starving, thirsty, exhausted, delirious, having survived thanks to the desperate measure of ingesting enormous quantities of old documents that neither lingered in the stomach nor nourished, since they melted in the mouth without requiring any chewing.
The nondescript Senhor José labors long and thanklessly among the archives; his is a tepid, lonely life with only one small hobby to leaven his leisure hours: he collects "news items about those people in his country who, for good reasons and bad, had become famous." One night, it occurs to him that "something fundamental was missing from his collection, that is, the origin, the root, the source, in other words, the actual birth certificate of these famous people"--and that the information is within easy reach on the other side of a connecting door that separates his meager lodgings from the Registry itself. And so begins Senhor José's midnight raids on the stacks as he shuttles between the Registry and his own room bearing precious records that he carefully copies before returning them to their rightful places. Still, this minor aberration might have remained the clerk's only transgression if not for a simple act of fate: one night, along with his celebrity records, he accidentally picks up a birth certificate belonging to an ordinary, unknown woman--a woman who becomes suddenly more important than all the others precisely because she is unknown. Celebrity is cast aside as Senhor José begins a search for this mysterious quarry--a quest that will lead him into conflict with his superior, the Registrar, and ensnare him in the kind of messy personal histories and tangled relationships he has thus far avoided in his own life.

A recurring theme in many of Saramago's novels is the very human struggle between withdrawal and connection. Whether it is the Iberian peninsula literally breaking off from the rest of Europe in The Stone Raft or an entire country afflicted by a devastating malady in Blindness, he is fascinated by the effects of isolation on the human soul and, correspondingly, the redemptive power of compassion. All the Names continues to mine this rich vein as the repressed clerk follows his unknown Ariadne's thread out of the labyrinth of his own strangled psyche and into life. Readers will find here Saramago's trademark love of the absurd, his brilliant imagery and idiosyncratic punctuation, as well as the unflinching yet tender honesty with which he chronicles the human condition. --Alix Wilber

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Bibliographic Details

Title: ALL THE NAMES - Rare Fine Copy of The First ...

Publisher: New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition.

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Store Description: ModernRare.com is exclusively an online bookstore. Our physical address is 124 N. California Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60612, U.S.A. The main contact person is Salvador L. Cortes. He can be reached at 312-376-5000 during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Chicago/Midwestern Standard Time. Email is usually the best way to reach us: info@modernrare.com We will respond to your email query within 24 hours. We are exclusively an online bookstore because we believe this is the best way to satisfy our customers' expectations. Unlike an open bookstore, where books are routinely handled and may deteriorate, we guarantee the condition of our books as described. We specialize in modern firsts, photography, the arts, and erotica. You will also find a fine selection of signed copies, Limited Editions, and memorabilia because our ultimate goal is to deepen the pleasure of collecting books. We carry titles that we ourselves like and believe in -- books that we think will excite, enchant, and endure. Please note: Payment needs to be made directly through ABEBooks. If you wish to make any other payment arrangement, please get in touch with us before placing your order. Thank you and happy collecting!