Jose Saramago, the 1998 Nobel Prize-winning novelist from Portugal, died on Friday at the age of 87. Saramago was the first Portuguese-language writer to win the Nobel for literature, though his relationship with his home country was fraught—he left Portugal in 1992 and accused its government of censorship after the country’s undersecretary of state for culture withdrew his nomination for the European Literature Prize, saying his novel, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, offended Roman Catholics. He wrote his first novel in 1947 but then took a four-decade hiatus from fiction during the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. He returned to fiction in 1982 with Baltasar and Blimunda, and among his most popular books is 1998’s Blindness, about a city whose population is mysteriously struck blind.
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