By Fernanda Eberstadt
"José Saramago, the Portuguese writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998 with novels that combine surrealist experimentation with a kind of sardonic peasant pragmatism, died on Friday at his home in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. He was 87.
The cause was multiple organ failure after a long illness, the José Saramago Foundation said in an announcement on its Web site, josesaramago.org.
A tall, commandingly austere man with a dry, schoolmasterly manner, Mr. Saramago gained international acclaim for novels like “Baltasar and Blimunda” and “Blindness.” (A film adaptation of “Blindness” by the Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles was released in 2008.)
He was the first Portuguese-language writer to win the Nobel Prize, and more than two million copies of his books have been sold, his longtime friend and editor, Zeferino Coelho, said."