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Book Collects Letters Exchanged Between Friends José Saramago and Jorge Amado

07/28/2017 - 10h39

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FERNANDA MENA
SPECIAL ENVOY TO PARATY, RIO DE JANEIRO

Affectionate, brotherly, double hugs. Endless hugs. Very strong kisses.

This is how two of the greatest writers of the Portuguese language, Brazilian writer Jorge Amado (1912-2001) and Portuguese writer José Saramago (1922-2010), poured themselves into each other, in letters now published in the book "Com o Mar por Meio" (published by Companhia das Letras).

They became friends later in life and the friendship was lived intensely by the two writers and their families, a friendship which emerges in the dialogue they engaged in by means of letters, faxes and notes exchanged as of 1992.

"Saramago had already met Jorge Amado on several occasions. Seeing he was always surrounded by people, Saramago was afraid to disturb him, and suspected Amado was not familiar with his writings" recalls Pilar del Río, life's partner of the Portuguese writer and current president of José Saramago Foundation.

"When they finally talked, empathy was so deep they realized they had already known each other," she said.

In their letters, they talk about the world, politics, literature and the constant speculations related to awards such as the Camões and the Nobel Prize, defined by Saramago as a "diabolical invention."

"Every October, the same tension was sensed at home," says Paloma Amado, daughter of the Brazilian author.

"Father was nominated to the Nobel Prize for 34 consecutive years and there was intense pressure involving the award. Not from him, but from others. That is why the atmosphere was heavy in the weeks preceding the announcement," she said.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

Read the article in the original language

Acervo de Zélia Gattai/Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado
Writers Jorge Amado and José Saramago
Writers Jorge Amado and José Saramago

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