Starting at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, in an unidentified country in an undetermined year, in José Saramago’s new novel, “Death. José Saramago prefaces his newly translated novella, Death with Interruptions, with two epigraphs: a prediction and a supposition. “We will know less and less. Ted Gioia reviews Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago at Great Books Guide.

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I hope you love it! As Saramago suggests, at the close of his brilliant, hopeful novel, a death that sleeps is no death at all. Everyone says his stuff is unique and different but so worthwhile. Death at Intervals begins with a striking conceit: This is his strong suit. I hope you enjoy whichever you start with! joss

Review: Death at Intervals by José Saramago | Books | The Guardian

Saramago admits, and indeed revels in, the many absurdities that this raises: But this is less an Aesopean attempt at dispensing a moral lesson than a thought experiment about differing responses to the unexpected eternity of the mortal coil.

As in many of his other works, Saramago largely eschews traditional forms of grammar and punctuation. His major players include the government, the church, the mafia, or maphia, as they are called herethe hospitals and hospices, and various trade associations of undertakers, grave-diggers, etc. Death reemerges not long thereafter, this time as a woman named death the lowercase name is used to signify the difference between the death who ends the life of people, and the Death who will end all of the Universe.


I completely understand wanting to save it. From here, the story largely moves on to focus on death’s relationship with an otherwise unremarkable cellist who, amazingly, will not die. Although the musician is clearly a lover of literature in general, a look at an average shelf in his library will show that he has a special liking for books on astronomy, the natural sciences and nature, and today he has brought with him a handbook on entomology.

Hold the grim reaper

I, too, worried about his style being inaccessible and was pleasantly surprised! The first half of the book is focused on society at large in the nameless, death-free country. As well as being an elegant modern fable, a broad satire on political life and a philosophical inquiry, this is also, briefly, a touching love story. Have you ever read a book that was so different it actually worked? With the shift from skeleton to human being comes the most surprising turn in the novel, for with the flesh that allows her to pass unnoticed among us mortals come other characteristics as well: What a fascinating concept—the death of death-but I think the style would get to me.

The population’s reaction is predictably hysterical and the handwriting analyst contracted to examine the letters concludes, iwth, that death has the handwriting of a serial killer. Portuguese fictionpost-apocalypsetranslation.

This page was last edited on 21 Novemberat Stay in the Loop Get new Erin Reads posts by email the day they’re published! The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death. The book ends, as it began, by stating that no one died the next day. If an award were given for run-on sentences, he would win it every year.


However, in an effort to kill more kindly, death will now send a letter to those about to perish, giving them a week to prepare for their end. I want to read everything else Saramago has ever written, because I suspect that at least a few of his other novels must be as clever as Death with Interruptions. All this is pleasant enough, but nowhere in satirical first half of Death with Interruptions does Saramago instill confidence that he is allowing his imagination to lead, and so he never arrives intrrruptions new or unexpected.

Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

Comments on this entry are closed. Suddenly the focus shrinks down to the level of a single person. Like many of the Portuguese Nobel laureate’s novels, this has a fable-like quality, seen in the simplicity of the central trope and the action’s setting – a small country with a terminally ill Queen Mother, pragmatic Prime Minister, and one state-run TV channel. From Wikipedia, the inerruptions encyclopedia. The cliched, circular answer is that it is love that makes us human. I am in love with this book.

I have only read Blindness, a fantastic book, but mean to read more Saramago and your post reminds me why!

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