by Jose Saramago

Politicians are completely baffled when the votes are counted after the election – 70% of people living in the capital have left their voting papers blank. The election is held again but this time the number has reached 83%. Fearing that democracy is about to collapse, the authorities decide to leave the capital to its own devices ....

The author occasionally writes rather long sentences and doesn’t punctuate speech. But this book turned out to be a complete surprise, a funny and thought-provoking satire on modern political life.


They did not have lunch together. Sticking to his tactic of controlled dispersal, the superintendent reminded the inspector and the sergeant, when they went their separate ways, that they should not go to the same restaurants they had gone to yesterday, and, just as he would have done had he been his own subordinate, he himself scrupulously carried out the orders he had given. He did so in a spirit of self-sacrifice too, for he ended up choosing a restaurant which, despite the three stars promised on the menu, only put one on his plate.
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa


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