This deeply personal work, follows the changing fortunes of the Mau-Tempo family - poor, landless peasants not unlike the author's own grandparents. Saramago charts the lives of the family in Alentjo, southern Portugal, as national and international events rumble on in the background - the coming of the republic in Portugal, the First and Second World Wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazar's life. Yet, nothing seriously impinges on the farm labourers' lives until the first stirrings of communism.
JosU Saramago is one of the most important international writers of the last hundred years. Born in Portugal in 1922, he was in his sixties when he came to prominence as a writer with the publication of Baltasar and Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Saramago died in June 2010.