Jose Saramago (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them BLINDNESS, ALL THE NAMES, BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA, and THE YEAR OF THE DEATH OF RICARDO REIS. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Publishers rejected this early novel by the 1998 Nobel laureate when he submitted it to them in 1953. SKYLIGHT, now appearing in English translation for the first time, dramatizes the overlapping stories of more than a dozen tenants who live in a run-down apartment complex in late 1940s Lisbon. The book is less philosophical than José Saramago’s later works, but the sly wit and left-wing politics for which he became famous are here in abundance.
In Alentejo, a southern province of Portugal known for its vast agricultural estates, the Mau Tempo family --- poor landless peasants --- faces changing fortunes in the midst of the coming of the Republic of Portugal, the two World Wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazar's life. Yet nothing really impinges on the grim reality of the farm laborers’ lives until the first communist stirrings.
In this, his last novel, Jose Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain. Condemned to wander forever after he kills Abel, he is whisked around in time and space.