All the Names Background

All the Names Background

All the Names, originally titled Todos os Nomes, is a novel written by author Jose Saramago. It was published in 1997 by Caminho Publishing in Portugal, originally in the Portuguese language.

The book is centered around Senhor Jose, a man whose first name is the only name known out of any character in the book. Jose is a man for whom the stories of the dead and the living are jumbled, intertwined. He is woefully lonely until he meets a girl whose name is never known. Curious, Jose pursues information about her and winds up learning more about her and himself than he ever wanted to.

After achieving moderate success in Portugal, where it was originally published, All the Names was translated into English in 1999 by Margaret Jull Costa, who won the Oxford-Weidenfield Translation Prize for this conversion.

Though the novel itself has received startlingly few awards, the author, Jose Saramago has won a Nobel Prize, and the book has been praised for a slew of reasons. For one, Saramago masterfully weaves subtly ironic comments in the otherwise stark scene of the novel. Another is how he somehow crafts tension without any action or much happening whatsoever, through only the words he uses. All the Names is a beautifully-written masterpiece by a Nobel Prize-winning author and will continue to be considered as such for years to come.

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