From an interview with The Independent: Now recovered in health, and with renewed energies, Saramago reflects on the relationship between the writer and illness. "Can literature save your life?" his cyber-interlocutor asks. "Not as a medicine, but it is one of the richest springs from which the spirit can drink," the Portuguese laureate replies. "Perhaps it can't do great things for the body, but the soul needs literature like the mouth needs bread."