Thursday, June 08, 2006

Luminous Sighting

The reach of luminous has become long indeed. First, Pulitzer winner John Updike. Now Nobel Prize laureate Jose Saramago.

On page 107 of the hardcover edition of Saramago’s latest novel, “Seeing”: “Everything seems to be normal, there are no violent muggings, no shoot-outs or knife-fights, there is nothing but this luminous afternoon.”

Shockingly, there it was again on pg. 247: "The morning still retained some of the luminous quality of dawn."

And, horrifically, again on pg. 259: "...a face in which the eyes had become limpid and luminous, the face of a man of fifty-seven..."

What the Jose was going on here? I was distraught until it struck me that Saramago writes in his native Portuguese. So did he actually pen the word “luminous” three times in single novel? I prefer to think not. Let’s blame the translator. Margaret Jull Costa, we're onto you.


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