Senhor José is a minor official in a registry office. He lives alone and spends his days in the documentation of the bare essentials – birth, marriage and death – of the lives of people he doesn't know. By chance he comes across a woman's file, in which her date and place of birth are not recorded, and his ordered, restricted life is turned upside down. Determined to discover more about the woman, he breaches all the regulations which have previously ruled his life. His quest becomes an obsession and gives a new meaning to his life yet his attempt to play God with other peoples' lives is destined to create new mysteries and complexities. In Senhor José, drawn from isolation into contact with the messy realities of human relationships, Saramago has created one of his most memorable characters and All the Names is one of his most subtle and engaging novels.