José Saramago (1922-2010) was the first Portuguese recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1998, and he has introduced Portuguese writing to readers across the world. He blends fact and fiction to create surrealistic reflections on life. His 1982 Memorial do Convento or "Baltasar and Blimunda", is set in 18th century Portugal when the great palace monastery of Mafra rises amid the Inquisition, an outbreak of the plague, and the riches of Brazil. Baltasar, a soldier just home from the wars, and Blimunda, a clairvoyant who can actually see inside people, meet up with the renegade priest, Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão, to build a flying machine. Bartolomeu actually existed, as does the great palace. Today, the Mafra National Palace is Portugal's most important baroque monument. It is world famous for its 2 carillons and 6 organs, and its library is considered to be the most beautiful in Portugal, with more than 38,000 volumes. This palace was the official summer residence of the Portuguese royal family until 1910, when Portugal was proclaimed a republic.