Author(s): Jose Saramago
When King and Church exercise absolute power what happens to the dreams of ordinary people? In early eighteenth century Lisbon, Baltasar, a soldier who has lost a hand in battle, falls in love with Blimunda, a young girl with visionary powers. From the day that he follows her home from the auto-da-fe where her mother is condemned and burned at the stake, the two are bound body and soul by a love of unassailable strength. A third party shares their supper that evening: Pardere Bartolemeu Lourenco, whose fantasy is to invent a flying machine. As the inquisition rages and royalty and religion clash, they pursue his impossible, not to mention heretical, dream of flight.
Jose Saramago was born in Portugal in 1922. His oeuvre embraces plays. poetry, memoirs and several novels which have been translated into more than 20 languages. It was the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda in 1988 that first brought him to the attention of an English-speaking readership. This novel won the Portuguese PEN Club Award, as did his next, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis , which also won the Independent Foreign Fiction Award. His fiction has established him as one of Europe's most influential living writers. Jose Saramago was awarded the Novel Prize for Literature in 1998.