All the Names

All the Names

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All the Names 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having read Saramago's other masterpiece, Blindness, I felt compelled to read other works of his. This novel did not disappoint me in the least. The beginning wets the brain with a taste of Kafka's The Trial but later grows into something much it's own, stunning with the intricate eccentricties of one man consumed by a life and by the concept of death. A thought provoking story that is enertaining and intriguing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are not enough stars in the universe to give this book its proper rating........
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have been a fan of saramago since blindness and find that, once again, he has not let the reader down. in his lyrical writing style, he tells the story of senhor jose (perhaps, he is speaking of himself?) a lonely and somewhat pathetic man who embarks upon, probably the biggest adventure of his life. it is a story of love, of death, of desire, or rebellion, of coming to terms with all of these things. i really loved it and recommend it to anyone. it's not that big, but it's very deep.
AdamZ1 More than 1 year ago
My second favorite Saramago novel, after BLINDNESS. This one is more limited in scope, but powerfully moving all the same.
Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
This is another brillant human portrayal by this very talented Portuguese writer. He captures the essence of a person's life that may speak to multitudes of us out there. It is another raw and exposing rip into the layers of humanity that many of us would rather not see revealed. His writing is precise and poignant and forever filled with unexpected occurrences. Take the time to read this work and be in a world created by a Master Wordsmith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm lucky I read him in portuguese,but this english translation is realy excellent.Parabens!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, 'All the Names' is a beautiful and poetic story of Senhor Jose and his noble quest to find out more about a mysterious woman. Working in the Central Registry, where the cards of the living and dead are kept, Jose encounters by chance the card of a woman whom from then on he decides to learn more about. The book itself is alluring. It's not in your standard fiction format. Dialogue is at a minimum and one is able to peer deeply inside the mind of Jose and the ways he thinks. However different the format is, it has twice the impact. It's a must buy and a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All the Names is a quiet story full of bravery at the level of a whisper. Is Senhor Jose paranoid and delusional or merely the product of a restrained life seeking at last adventure? The journey brings him closest to the least expected of the characters. The stream of consciousness prose makes me know Senhor Jose is human, alive and normal. I felt this translation was amazing and artistic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saramago leaves a trail of string, leading readers through of a labyrinth of human emotion. Senhor Jose is an unusual, seemingly pathetic character whose bizarre actions put him in the most bizarre places. A great translation but All the Names is a bit lower than Blindness on the literary ladder; it hits more like a middle-weight moving up the ranks than an established heavy-weight prizefighter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saramango is an excelent writer (simply awsome), I wish nothing else so deeply as to learn portuguise and read this book in Its original form. I read the version in Spanish and must say I was not impressed. This woman translator is the best I have ever read. And not taking to much credit from Saramango, I wish to congratulate Ms. Jull Costa for he OUTSTANDING, SHORT OF INCREDIBLE TRANSLATION OF THIS MASTERPEICE. THANK YOU !!! By the way, for all you Saramango adicts, he just published his second book after winning the Nobel prize. Saddly It's not translated yet, I hope Jull does the job, please? please? please? cya guys latter,
browner56 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Senhor José, a low-level functionary in the Civil Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths, lives the epitome of a mundane existence. His days are spent recording basic facts of other people¿s lives in a soulless environment where such information has been chronicled for centuries. He spends his nights alone preparing for work the next day. The only break from this monotony comes from his surreptitious hobby of assembling private files on the country¿s most famous people. This diversion leads to unauthorized, after-hours raids into the Registry, where he accidentally comes across the file of an unknown woman. His obsession with finding out as much as he can about this person changes the course of his life and frames much of the story.Although neither lengthy nor seemingly complicated, I found this to be a challenging book to read. Much of that has to do with the author¿s writing style, which is quite atmospheric and laden with metaphors, such as the Ariadne¿s thread that Registry employees use to keep from getting lost in the archives. Further, Saramago makes playful use of punctuation, to say the least, which takes some getting used to. None of this leads to fast, breezy reading experience¿it took me about twice as long to digest the novel as I figured it would¿but it was also one that created images and ideas that are likely to stay with me for awhile.This is the second of the author¿s novels that I¿ve read, the other being his magnificent and harrowing ¿Blindness.¿ A central theme in both is how human beings cope with seclusion, whether unexpectedly thrust on them or carefully structured into their lives. In ¿All the Names,¿ this premise is underscored in a very interesting way: despite the book¿s title and the nature of the Registry¿s work, Senhor José is the only character that is ever mentioned by name. Saramago truly was a masterful writer and story-teller, but then, as his Nobel Prize attests, I¿m not the first person to realize that!
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All The Names is the story of a middle-aged civil servant named Senhor Jose, who works as a clerk in the Central Registry for births, marriages and deaths. He is the only person named in the story¿all the remaining characters in the novel are referred to by their titles or descriptions: The Registrar, the woman in the apartment, and so on. It is an interesting literary device, given the title of the book, but not surprising if you read this as an allegory. Senhor Jose, still a bachelor in his fifties, lives a quiet life with no social life, or family to visit. At his work and the hierarchical structure and discipline of the institution does not allow for personal exchanges of any kind. He has spent a lifetime alongside co-workers that know nothing significant about him. In order to maintain a connection with humanity, he clips articles out of newspapers and magazines and keeps his own personal registry of stranger¿s lives. He secretly cross-checks his files with those of the official labyrinth files at the Central Registry. One day the filing card of ¿an unknown woman¿ sticks to the other files he has surreptitiously borrowed for his hobby. The file of the unknown woman begins to haunt his life. In response he steps out of his lonely existence to try to track her down and , in doing so he becomes a sleuth and a forger and much more. The tension through the novel builds as we begin to learn more about the unknown woman and this tension exhibits itself in Senhor Jose, who comes under the suspicion of his boss. The remainder of the novel takes on a Proustian stream-of-consciousness internal monologue with the reader drifting in a sort of haze of metaphor and allegory that is the most beautiful consequence of this novel. It has been compared to a Kafkaesque experience.
Clara53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think Jose Saramago is a master of human psychology.
SheWoreRedShoes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Saramago¿s novels often feature structural elements common to various genre fiction. Some novels have elements of historical fiction, like his Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, or fantastical allegory, like The Stone Raft. In this respect, Saramago¿s All the Names is no different, as it reads much like a detective or mystery novel. Interestingly enough, Saramago has refused a basic feature of much detective and mystery fiction: the fast pacing page-turner, consumed like so many tortilla chips in one night. For the most prominent motif of this novel is waiting. And waiting. The protagonist, a clerk in the Civil Registry of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, is mired in, as you might imagine, a bleak life of toil in the bureaucratic nightmare of managing civil records. He is much like the famous Bartleby. And the grimness of the records office¿with its pristine and insane order, rules, and procedures, and dusty shelves of disintegrating paper documents¿seems to doom him to a dismal life indeed. Except, unlike Bartleby, our records clerk has a secret and devious¿if not criminal¿hobby: he periodically removes records on famous and infamous persons, in order to build his own private file of records and have some excitement in his otherwise unremarkable life. The Bartleby-waiting pattern our clerk is mired in breaks open with his accidental lifting of a record of an ordinary person¿an unknown ordinary woman. Thus begins the end of waiting for our clerk: he now has an obsession to know about this ordinary woman. He wants to rescue her from a life of obscurity, even if it means that she will only become known to him. The clerk¿s obsession propels the novel forward and as a reader, you cheer his boldness in the face of danger, you cheer his will in finding what he can about this woman, you cheer his determination as a researcher. The clerk begins to make irrational decisions¿decisions based only on his new-found passion¿and he begins to take actions: he ventures out into rainstorms, he knocks on strangers¿ doors, he breaks into a secondary school to search through even more records. Our clerk even calls in sick. The period of waiting, of a static and totally predictable existence, has ended for our clerk: he has embarked upon the gloriousness of living. In seeking to rescue the unknown woman from obscurity, he has stumbled upon a way to rescue himself.
TomSlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book is slow-moving and I was not in the mood for a slow-moving book. I think there is more going on here than I got from it. I'll read more of his - maybe at a time when I'm more attuned to his writing.
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All the Names is my first Saramago read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. His writing style, themes, settings and characters here all reminded me of Franz Kafka's The Trial quite a bit. The story itself was very slowly paced, yet managed to still be suspenseful and mysterious. The themes were fairly esoteric and philosophical but you could choose to hurt your head pondering every metaphor or just read it to enjoy the basic story (or some combination). The ending lost me somewhat though-- I either didn't agree with it or didn't get it, not sure which.
AJBraithwaite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novel about archives, existence, obsession and control. The way that the dialogue was written was slightly hard work, but this story of Senhor José and his hunt for the unknown woman is gripping and creepy in turn.
vaellus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The basis of this novel is one of those maddening cliches of postmodern literature: Protagonist becomes obsessed with some unknown person (dead or alive), usually by chance, and begins investigating the person and putting together the details of said person's life. Saramago, however, manages to inject this hackneyed plot type with a freshness that keeps the book entertaining. There are faceless bureaucrats and the protagonist is a nobody clerk at the bottom of the hierarchy, but anyone who describes this novel as Kafkaesque gets detention.
lesliecon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the meta-physical quality of the language in this novel. Saramago has become one of the my favorite writers.
EricaKline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Central Registry clerk traces the life of a random woman. Loneliness, love, and chance are key themes. The cards and data represent our selves. Lyrical and touching.
ReneTee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first Saramago book I read, and since then I have become a big fan. Saramago seems at first to be telling a light-hearted, almost absurd story, but suddenly one finds oneself immersed in a philosphical tale of language and being.
pabarrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this a couple years ago and I loved teh pacing and the style.
Zmrzlina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite read. There are two conversations with the ceiling I'd like to memorize. And perhaps on a fifth or sixth reading, I will.This story is about a man who works in a city registry who does his job day in and day out, following routines and regulations. Until the one day something breaks his routine, a stray card with the name of a woman. Something drives him to find out more about this woman and as he does so, routine and regulation become the enemy of discovery, as they always are but we so often forget to notice when they make things seem easier.
mattviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Senhor José's life is nothing but ordinary: in an unnamed city he works as a lowly clerk for the Central Registry of Births, Marriages and Death where the living and dead permanently share the same shelf in a single archive. In his early fifties, José has a laudable modesty of those who do not go around complaining about the voluminous workload befallen him. He attempts his work sedulously, with great precision and sense of responsibility, despite his suffering from vertigo caused by a fear of height when he climbs the ladder to access files on ceiling-to-floor shelves.Senhor José finds solace in collecting news clippings of the country's famous, notorious and elite. One night, seized by an impulse and despondence over the inadequacy of his collection, José scuttles across the threshold of the communicating door that parts his lodging from the Registry and pilfers from the file drawer five precious records cards of the famous people. No sooner has he finished copying carefully and returned the cards to their rightful places than he spots the extra card, the unwanted one that belongs to an unknown, ordinary woman. Until then José's tepid and quiet life is no longer the same as he becomes morbidly obsessed with this unknown woman.What follows is our protagonist's exhaustive (and somehow preposterous) quest for the unknown woman through the clues that trail behind from the record cards: her most recent address, her last records from school, her neighbor from 33 years ago, and her parents. His anxiety and curiosity for this unknown woman tightens the grip to the point he doesn't feel right to resign himself. The obsession of the search in no time takes its toll. It inevitably manifests in mistakes at work, in lack of attention, in wane of precision, in sudden bouts of drowsiness during the day. The Registrar deems such poor standard of work can only be justified by some grave illness. Little does the Registrar know that José's irrepressible trembling is not the result of illness but panic, as he has committed an offense against the ethics of the Registry-infringement of privacy and forgery of credentials.I'll most certainly leave the readers to learn the outcome of José's investigation. One common theme has surfaced in this novel. Like Saramago's other books such as Blindness, The Stone Raft and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, the notion of loneliness (isolation vs. connection) prevails and governs the shaping of Saramago's characters and the actions they take. José is a loner who only takes interest in people's birth certificate. Those whom he encounters and indebted upon, especially the woman who lives on the ground floor, suffers from loneliness as she purposely engages in a circuitous conversation with José since she has nobody to talk to. José's peers at work, who treats him with scornful commiseration, as they are jealous at the Registrar's unmerited favoritism toward José upon his recovery from illness, are lonely as well.A sound quote from the book has always resonated in my mind, "I don't believe one can show greater respect than to weep for a stranger." (205) All The Names evokes the moment of recognition in the lives of the living and dead. Through the search for this woman to whom José has neither a personal or sentimental attachment, Saramago evokes in us the unbeatable and redemptive power of compassion, something that surpasses life and death and the vast interval of time that separates us from the most remote dead.Saramago's writing is thought provoking as usual, richly marinated with philosophical overtones such as "[registry] routine presupposes unconscious certainty" and "we do not make decisions, decisions make us." (29) Throughout the book José engages in some importunate inner fantasy dialogues as well as conversation with the plaster ceiling. This book is not to be taken lightly. The richness and obscurity of the prose forbid you to rush through it but to let it seep through slowly. The s
Anonymous More than 1 year ago