Jose Saramago, the author of Blindness who became the first Portuguese-language winner of the Nobel Literature prize, has died at 87, his publisher said today, adding that the author's health had worsened after a recent illness. Saramago was an outspoken man who antagonized many, and saw his popularity at home dampened by his unflinching support for Communism, blunt manner, and sometimes difficult prose style
"People used to say about me, 'He's good but he's a Communist.' Now they say, 'He's a Communist but he's good,'" he said in a 1998 interview with the AP. International critical acclaim came late in his life, starting with his 1982 historical fantasy Memorial do Convento, published in English in 1988 as Baltasar and Blimunda. He was frequently compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his writing is often described as realism tinged with Latin-American mysticism, particularly for his technique of confronting historical personages with fictional characters.