Two by José Saramago

From The History of the Siege of Lisbon, in which a freelance proof-reader battles it out with his publishing house:

Raimundo is accustomed to Costa’s insolence which he does not take to heart, rudeness without malice in the case of poor Costa, who never stops talking about the Production, one has to keep to a strict schedule in Production, yes, Sir, says he, there may be authors, translators and proof-readers and jacket designers involved, but if it weren’t for our little Production team, I’d like to see what all their skills would achieve, a publishing house is like a football team, some showy moves on the forward line up front, lots of passes, much dribbling, lots of headers, but if the goalkeeper turns out to be paralyzed or rheumaticky, all is lost, farewell championship, and Costa sums it up, this time with algebraic precision, In publishing, the Production department is like the goalkeeper of a football team. Costa is right.


From Small Memories, a memoir:

Another word I had problems with (these stories dates from primary school days) was sacavenese. As well as meaning “a native of the town of Sacavem,” which has now been swallowed up by the insatiable dragon that Lisbon has become, it was also the name of a football club that may or may not have survived the vicissitudes of time and the purgatories of the second and third divisions. And how did I pronounce it then? In a truly shocking way that scandalized all who heard me: “sacanavense,” which incorporated into the innocent original the word sacana with its echoes of libertinism and masturbation. I can still recall my relief when I was finally able to transpose the ill-bred syllables.