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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


A story of quiet contemplation and steely resolve by José Saramago, illustrated for readers of all ages.

Illustrated by Yolanda Mosquera
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

“I returned to the spot, even though the sun had already set, I cast my hook into the water and waited. I don't think there is a deeper silence in the world than the silence of water.
I felt it then and never forgot it.”

On the banks of a river near his grandparents’ farm, a boy is about to catch a big fish. At the same moment that he loses his prey, the boy has a moment of growing awareness of the interconnectedness of all things. He is compelled to try again to catch the fish even though he is sure it’s gone. And even though his chance has passed and he is company only to silence, he has staked a claim there by the river’s edge. 

From a childhood memory detailed in his book Small Memories, José Saramago spins a tale of quiet depth and wisdom – here translated as The Silence of Water by Margaret Jull Costa, and beautifully illustrated by Yolanda Mosquera.


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“A section of the Nobel Prize winner’s memoir, Small Memories, is transformed into a picture book about making connections to the natural world. Fishing on the banks of a river near his grandparents’ farm, a boy imagines he’s about to catch a big fish. But, while he fails to do so, he suddenly is aware of being connected to all things.”

JOSÉ DE SOUSA SARAMAGO, (November 1922 - June 2010), was a Portuguese writer and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the theopoetic human factor. More than two million copies of Saramago's books have been sold in Portugal alone and his work has been translated into 25 languages. He was a founding member of the National Front for the Defense of Culture in Lisbon in 1992, and co-founder with Orhan Pamuk, of the European Writers' Parliament (EWP).