Raimundo Silva, an innocuous bachelor, has chosen the safe occupation of proofreader at a distinguished publishing house. One day he inexplicably takes it upon himself to alter a key word in a history text. His alteration leads him into an affair of the heart that changes the course of European history. Around a seemingly minor incident José Saramago has constructed one of his most ambitious sweeping novels to date: a broad, multifaceted tableau involving meditations on historiography, the uses and abuses of language, and life after authoritarian rule. This rollicking love story is a delight for readers of Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.