I first read his 'Stone Raft' and was struck by how the novel had an internal calm, stillness about it even though cataclysmic events were happening in the novel. The dry,black humor in it got to me.
Blindness has to be one of the most powerful illustrations of human anarchy, satirically and how close we, the supposedly civilized people are close to becoming the so called animals with just a slight push from Nature (am only able to ascribe the main event in the novel to nature). Particularly the part where there is mafia kind of cabal is formed among the blind people itself, throws light on how we crave for power/dominance above others in all situations. 'All the names' portrayed the loneliness of a person and all consuming quality of bureaucracy. Almost 'Kafkaesque'.
Reading his ''Seeing' and 'The Cave' also, the prevalent themes of his books seemed to me as, the brittleness of our existence, how soon it can turn Topsy turvy and within that framework exposing the callousness of governments/bureaucracy, meditation on life and death, urban loneliness (as in 'All the names').
Of course, who can leave out his singular style of narration, eschewing in lots of cases, punctuation marks, the end result being a feeling of listening to a old person sitting by the fire and telling stories rather than reading.
RIP Jose Saramago, your works did not make me happy about myself or our world and they were not meant for that. They made me question myself and my surroundings in some way and look at things in a different light and that to me is a hallmark of a great writer.