Memorial do Convento

Memorial do Convento - José Saramago 3 stars

I confess my expectations weren't very high for this book. People always ranted about how boring it would be, and I believed them.

I actually enjoyed the "Memorial". Yes, it is a historical romance situated in the eighteenth century's prejudiced and excessively religious Portugal, but it is also the portrayal of a love of cosmical proportions, the world's first flying machine, the extenuating construction of the Convent of Mafra, the barbarities committed by the world-famous Inquisition, the vanity of a king...

I especially adored the humorous moments filled with irony that you can find in these dense pages, like for instance how every nun in every single religious order in Lisbon wasn't God's wife, but the king's/the ordinary man's mistress.

Focusing on the very polemic topic of Saramago's writing style, I got used to it very quickly and didn't find it disturbing at all. His way of organising sentences and dialogues is very creative and, after about a dozen pages, easy to follow.

All in all, this was an acceptable book, which I managed to appreciate, yet I did not love it. Instead, I found it a bit slow at times, which led to many pauses on my part, hence the rating.