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Raised from the ground by José Saramago

Raised from the ground (1980)

by José Saramago

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I generally love Saramago's novels and can go with the flow of his narrative but I found this one a bit too rambling and struggled to follow the story and the characters in it. This might just be my lack of attention, it is a great idea for a novel following generations of rural workers through the history of Portugal but I couldn't really follow it. ( )
  Tifi | Aug 10, 2017 |
I am writing this review at 4 AM so please forgive any strange words or lack of insights. the novel covers 3 generations that struggle each day. set in his land Portugal Saramago explores the flow of history how it affects each common life and how it matters little. Saramago is very polictal with a great compassion for those at bottom of society. very powerful novel ( )
  michaelbartley | Oct 6, 2015 |
Saramago uses capitals and periods very sparingly to indicate the beginning and end of sentences, resulting in an almost stream-of-consciousness feeling that may cause you to read quickly. But slow down. Breathe. Let yourself flow with the words and be willing to re-read if you lose the thread. Trust me - Saramago is worth it. This particular work, his first major novel, is probably his most autobiographical and is lyrically rich with symbolism and metaphor. The narrative follows the fortunes and mis-fortunes of a Portuguese peasant family through four generations, from just after World War I until the 1960s. Domingos Mau-Tempo (the name means "bad weather") is a cobbler whose drinking and frequent re-locations to avoid his creditors quickly reduce his family to the most abject poverty. Domingos himself periodically abandons his desperate wife Sara da Conceição and their growing family, ultimately leaving them without the skill-set of even a marginal craftsman and thus entirely dependent upon the latifundio, a vast region of feudal estates whose owners maintain their detached superiority and entitlement from monarchy to republic to dictatorship. Joao Mau-Tempo, Domingos' blue-eyed oldest son, goes to school for only a year before taking up a man's work in the fields at the age of ten while the younger children go begging to sustain a meager level of subsistence. The months and years of grinding labor stimulate unrest among the workers who begin to meet and to circulate pamphlets, to ask for a higher wage and a shorter workday. The landlords - Aliberto, Dagoberto, Norberto, Lamberto and the rest - react with lockouts supported by the priest, Fr Agamedes, who constantly reminds those few who attend Mass that this world is meant for suffering that will be rewarded in the next life. Once Antonio Salazar's repressive, anti-communist regime utilizes a secret police force known as the PIDE to uphold the landlords' privileges through detentions, tortures, and mass murders. Yet the Mau-Tempo family and their neighbors keep alive their hopes of being "raised from the ground" into decent and respected lives where they will no longer live like "ants, especially those that raise their heads like dogs." Saturated with historical references, for which Costa thankfully provides explanatory footnotes, and intensely political, Saramago's tale is eloquently cloaked in a poetry that draws the reader beyond the facts into the hearts and souls of the Portuguese people. ( )
1 vote amac121212 | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
José Saramagoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Losada, BasilioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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E eu pergunto aos economistas políticos, aos moralistas, se já calcularam o número de indivíduos que é forçoso condenar à miséria, ao trabalho desproporcionado, à desmoralização, à infância, à ignorância crapulosa, à desgraça invencível, à penúria absoluta, para produzir um rico?
Almeida Garrett
I ask the political economists and the moralists if they have ever calculated the number of individuals who must be condemned to misery, overwork, demoralisation, childhood, rank ignorance, overwhelming misfortune and utter penury in order to produce one rich man?

Almeida Garrett
À Isabel, sempre.
A João Domingos Serra e João Basuga, e também a Mariana Amália Basuga, Elvira Basuga, Herculano António Redondo, António Joaquim Cabecinha, Maria João Mogarro, João Machado, Manuel Joaquim Pereira Abelha, Joaquim Augusto Badalinho, Silvestre António Catarro, José Francisco Curraleira, Maria Saraiva, António Vinagre, Bernardino Barbas Pires, Ernesto Pinto Ângelo - sem eles não teria sido escrito este livro.
À memória de Germano Vidigal e José Adelino dos Santos, assassinados.
To the memory of Germano Vidigal and José Adelino dos Santos, both of whom were murdered.
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"First published in 1980, the City of Lisbon Prize-winning Raised from the Ground follows the changing fortunes of the Mau Tempo family-poor landless peasants not unlike Saramago's own grandparents. Set in Alentejo, a southern province of Portugal known for its vast agricultural estates, the novel charts the lives of the Mau Tempos as national and international events rumble on in the background-the coming of the republic in Portugual, 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"--Publisher's information.… (more)

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