In 1953, José Saramago submitted a novel to his publishers. Thirty-six years later, he heard back
Lisbon, late-1940s. The inhabitants of an old apartment block are struggling to make ends meet. There’s the elderly shoemaker and his wife who take in a solitary young lodger; the woman who sells herself for money and jewellery; the cultivated family come down in the world; and the beautiful typist whose boss can’t keep his eyes off her.
Poisonous relationships, happy marriages, jealousy, gossip and love – Skylight brings together the joys and grief of ordinary people. One of his earliest novels, it provides an entry into Saramago’s universe but was lost for decades and published, as per his wishes, after his death.
“A fluid and imaginative translation by Margaret Jull Costa… A masterly creation: pessimistic without being bleak, lyrical without being sentimental… Saramago tears back that curtain to reveal not only the stage on which life is performed but also backstage, under unflattering working lights; to show humanity at its most anxious, its most vulnerable and most true”
James Runcie, Independent
“For admirers of his work...the rescue of this novel from oblivion is something to be grateful for. The translator, Margaret Jull Costa, as ever, does a splendid job”
Times Literary Supplement
“Not only does it illuminate the slow development of a radically original artist, but it is an interesting novel in its own right”
Ursula Le Guin, The Guardian
“This is one of Saramago’s early works but his eye for psychological nuance and his gift for sympathy are already in evidence”
“Skylight is a deeply affecting novel, the work of an already adroit writer who marshals his characters with assurance”
“A novel that stands securely on its own merits and is a worthy addition to the rich body of Saramago’s work”
Allan Massie, Scotsman
“Saramago’s insightful writing is a pleasure to be immersed in, as he brings this microcosm of society to life with all the foibles, frustrations and passions of daily life”
Good Book Guide