26 April 2012

"Revenge" by José Saramago

The boy was coming from the river. Barefoot, with his trousers rolled up above his knees, his legs covered in mud.

He was wearing a red shirt, open in front where the first hairs of puberty on his chest were beginning to blacken. He had dark hair, damp with the sweat that was trickling down his slender neck. He was bent slightly forward under the weight of the long oars, from which were hanging green strands of water-weeds still dripping. The boat kept swaying in the murky water, and nearby, as if spying, the globulous eyes of a frog suddenly appeared. Then the frog moved suddenly and disappeared. A minute later the surface of the river was smooth and tranquil and shining like the boy's eyes.

--from "Revenge", a short short story by the Portuguese novelist, excerpted from The Lives of Things (trans. Giovanni Pontiero), Saramago's only collection of short fiction.

Read it at Morning Star.

See also the story "Things" from the same collection, excerpted in two parts (Part 1, Part 2) in Guernica.

(Via Verso)