I think we are blind. Blind people who can see, but do not see.
Human vocabulary is still not capable, and probably never will be, of knowing, recognizing, and communicating everything that can be humanly experienced and felt.
As citizens, we all have an obligation to intervene and become involved - it's the citizen who changes things.
I always ask two questions: How many countries have military bases in the United States? And in how many countries does the United States not have military bases?
I never appreciated 'positive heroes' in literature. They are almost always cliches, copies of copies, until the model is exhausted. I prefer perplexity, doubt, uncertainty, not just because it provides a more 'productive' literary raw material, but because that is the way we humans really are.
I presume that nobody will deny the positive aspects of the North American cultural world. These are well known to all. But these aspects do not make one forget the disastrous effects of the industrial and commercial process of 'cultural lamination' that the USA is perpetrating on the planet.
In the end, I am quite normal. I don't have odd habits. I don't dramatize. Above all, I do not romanticize the act of writing. I don't talk about the anguish I suffer in creating. I do not have a fear of the blank page, writer's block, all those things that we hear about writers.
I am the same person I was before receiving the Nobel Prize. I work with the same regularity, I have not modified my habits, I have the same friends.
I was born in a family of landless peasants, in Azinhaga, a small village in the province of Ribatejo, on the right bank of the Almonda River, around a hundred kilometres north-east of Lisbon.
Look what happened with the employment law in France-the law was withdrawn because the people marched in the streets. I think what we need is a global protest movement of people who won't give up.
Society has to change, but the political powers we have at the moment are not enough to effect this change. The whole democratic system would have to be rethought.
Things will be very bad for Latin America. You only have to consider the ambitions and the doctrines of the empire, which regards this region as its backyard.
A human being is a being who is constantly 'under construction,' but also, in a parallel fashion, always in a state of constant destruction.
I am a person with leftist convictions, and always have been.
Without the faintest possibility of finding a job, I decided to devote myself to literature: it was about time to find out what I was worth as a writer.
Beginning with adolescence, my political formation was oriented in the ideological direction of Marxism. It was natural, being that my thinking was influenced by an atmosphere of active critical resistance. That was the way it was during all of the dictatorship and up to the Revolution of 1974.
A writer's definitive death is when no one reads his books anymore. That's the final death.
The painter paints, the musician makes music, the novelist writes novels. But I believe that we all have some influence, not because of the fact that one is an artist, but because we are citizens.
The period that I could consider the most important in my literary work came about beginning with the Revolution, and in a certain way, developed as a consequence of the Revolution. But it was also a result of the counterrevolutionary coup of November 1975.
I can't imagine myself outside any kind of social or political involvement. Yes, I'm a writer, but I live in this world, and my writing doesn't exist on a separate level. And if people know who I am and read my books, well, good; that way, if I have something more to say, then everyone benefits.
We're not short of movements proclaiming that a different world is possible, but unless we can coordinate them into an international movement, capitalism just laughs at all these little organisations.
I am a better novelist than a poet, playwright, or essayist.
There are times when it is best to be content with what one has, so as not to lose everything.
The wisest man I ever knew in my whole life could not read or write.
The world had already changed before September 11. The world has been going through a process of change over the last 20 or 30 years. A civilization ends, another one begins.
The attitude of insolent haughtiness is characteristic of the relationships Americans form with what is alien to them, with others.
The U.S. needs to control the Middle East, the gateway to Asia. It already has military installations in Uzbekistan.
It is difficult to understand these people who democratically take part in elections and a referendum, but are then incapable of democratically accepting the will of the people.
It is economic power that determines political power, and governments become the political functionaries of economic power.
Perhaps it is the language that chooses the writers it needs, making use of them so that each might express a tiny part of what it is.
What kind of world is this that can send machines to Mars and does nothing to stop the killing of a human being?
In effect I am not a novelist, but rather a failed essayist who started to write novels because he didn't know how to write essays.
The problem is that the right doesn't need any ideas to govern, but the left can't govern without ideas.
For me, writing is a job. I do not separate the work from the act of writing like two things that have nothing to do with each other. I arrange words one after another, or one in front of another, to tell a story, to say something that I consider important or useful, or at least important or useful to me.
Death is present every day in our lives. It's not that I take pleasure in the morbid fascination of it, but it is a fact of life.
The world is governed by institutions that are not democratic - the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO.
I had no books at home. I started to frequent a public library in Lisbon. It was there, with no help except curiosity and the will to learn, that my taste for reading developed and was refined.
To continue living, we have to die. That's the story of humanity - generation after generation - that we are going to die. There's nothing dramatic about death except that one loses one's life.
I don't defend the idea of universal love. It has never existed and will never exist.
Being fired was the best luck of my life. It made me stop and reflect. It was the birth of my life as a writer.
I think the novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers. The novel receives streams of science, philosophy, poetry and contains all of these; it's not simply telling a story.
Can you imagine what Bush would say if someone like Hugo Chavez asked him for a little piece of land to install a military base, and he only wanted to plant a Venezuelan flag there?
I am traveling less in order to be able to write more. I select my travel destinations according to their degree of usefulness to my work.
The novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers.
People live with the illusion that we have a democratic system, but it's only the outward form of one. In reality we live in a plutocracy, a government of the rich.
At the end of the 1950s, I started working at a publishing company, Estudios Cor, as production manager, so returning, but not as an author, to the world of letters I had left some years before.
I do not just write, I write what I am. If there is a secret, perhaps that is it.