Jose Saramago on Carlos Fuentes

Now for a confession. Personally I am not easily intimidated, quite the contrary, but my first encounters with Carlos Fuentes, which of course were always polite, as one would have expected of two well-brought-up people, were not easy, not through any fault of his but because of a kind of resistance on my part to accepting naturally something which in Carlos Fuentes is extremely natural–that is, his style of dress. We all know that Fuentes dresses well, with elegance and good taste, his shirt never wrinkled, but for some mysterious reason I thought that a writer, especially one from that part of the world, should not dress in that way. My mistake. Carlos Fuentes managed to make the greatest critical demands and the greatest ethical rigor–both of which he has–compatible with a well-chosen tie. Believe me, that’s no small thing.

translated by Amanda Hopkinson & Daniel Hahn

Jose Saramago’s response to the question of his role as a blogger on November 25, 2008 at a press conference in Brazil.

Could it be, to put it more clearly, that it’s here that we all most closely resemble one another? Is this the closest thing we have to citizen power? Are we more companionable when we write on the internet? I have no answers; I’m merely stating the questions. And I enjoy writing here now. I don’t know whether it is more democratic, I only know that I feel the same as the young man with the wild hair and the round-rimmed glasses, in his early twenties, who was asking me the questions. For a blog, no doubt.

translated by Amanda Hopkinson & Daniel Hahn