Portugal News

portuguese press review plus the odd insight

Saramago at rest in the Onion Field

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Portugal’s Nobel-garlanded author Jose Saramago, who died a year ago, had his ashes scattered under an olive tree in Lisbon at the weekend. The 100-year-old tree was brought from the Alentejo village where he grew up, Azinhaga. Saramago as a boy would have most likely watched lizards frolic in the shade of that very tree, located behind his grandparents’ house.

Some locals in Campo das Cebolas, or the Onion Field, the square in Lisbon’s Baixa district where the Alentejo olive tree was replanted, weren’t too happy about the their new connection with a writer who often had a difficult relationship with mainstream public opinion in Portugal. Saramago liked to descibe himself as a libertarian communist. “God wants that olive tree to die! Why? Because Saramago didn’t want to be Portuguese, he wanted be Spanish,” one moustachioed OAP told Publico.

Saramago experts believe the olive tree from the author’s birthplace could be the one where he recounts in “Pequenas Memorias”, or Small Memories, seeing a lizard predict an adulterous affair between an Azinhaga woman and a man from elsewhere – a liaison consummated under the very same tree.  In the top right of the picture you can see the Casa dos Bicos, one of the capital’s oldest buildings that gets visited by most big wigs coming to Lisbon. The building will house the Jose Saramago Foundation before the end of this year.


Written by porkncheezer

June 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

Posted in lisbon

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