Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Publish Early Life Memoir of Late Nobel Prize Winning Author José Saramago

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Trade and Reference Division will publish Small Memories, the early life memoir of the late José Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. The book comes out just a month before the one-year anniversary of the author's death.

The Independent (UK) praises Saramago's memoir of his early life, calling it an "homage to [his] family and homeland, but also…the endlessly renewable life of the mind." The Business Post (Ireland) calls the book, "Small memories, perhaps, but a small masterpiece, too."

Born in Portugal in 1922 in the tiny village of Azinhaga, Saramago was only eighteen months old when he moved with his father and mother to live in a series of cramped lodgings in a working-class neighborhood of Lisbon. He returned to Azinhaga throughout his youth to stay with his illiterate but world-wise grandparents.

Shifting back and forth between the village and the city, Small Memories is a mosaic of Saramago's family memories and earliest encounters with literature--from the tragic death of his older brother at the age of four, to the first novel that made an impression on him, the melodramatic Maria, Fairy of the Forest. Small Memories traces the formation of an individual who emerged, against all odds, from a car mechanic in Lisbon to one of the world's most respected writers.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is also offering The Collected Novels of José Saramago exclusively in e-book form. This collection, which includes twelve novels and one novella along with an introductory essay by Ursula K. Le Guin, showcases the range and depth of Saramago's career.

José Saramago was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. He died at his home in the Canary Islands in 2010.