So is there a point to this book? Yes – it is a plea for civilised discourse, humane values and, for all Saramago’s anger at injustice, deceit, populism and Berlusconi, he is innately optimistic; or at least, he wants to be positive, and holds out a hope that people will do the right thing. He is strict on Obama, for example, but doesn’t rule out that he might make progress on health care reform. (He got that one right, and lived to see it.)
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