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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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Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

He avoids the capitalization of proper names of people or places, and especially of his protagonist “death” who emphatically insists that her name be written lowercase. The common citizens, however, generally enjoy their newfound immortality. At first the apparent death of death seems like a interryptions for celebration. Saramago avoids using quotations to signify speech, instead relying on inline text, and the usage of capitalization to signify the start of a new speaker’s words.

Other Colorsp. What a fascinating concept—the death of death-but I think the style would get to me. The most fully developed character in this novel is the personification of death, who is, at best, a one-dimensional protagonist. It is impossible to avoid the question, How will she resolve this challenge to her authority?

This web site and its sister sites may receive promotional copies of review items and other materials from publisher, publicists and other parties. I want to read everything else Saramago has ever written, because I suspect that at least a few of joxe other novels must be as clever as Death with Interruptions. I was fascinated to see what problem would pop up next and how the affected parties would solve it.

Fortunately, about halfway in something happens: Upon visiting him, she plans to personally give him the letter; instead, she falls in love with him, and, by doing so, she becomes even more human-like. And as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that this hiatus in death is not just an one day anomaly, but is continuing indefinitely—at least in the unnamed country where the story transpires.


Death discovers that, without reason, this man has mistakenly not been killed. First released in in its original Portuguese, the novel was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa in Views Read Edit View history. My All-Time Favorite Authors. The premise underlying the satire—that death abandons her duties, that people stop dying, that this is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs—is not an original one; see, for example, the film Death Takes a Holiday or any number of science fiction stories from the intervening years.

I am in love with this book. As with Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the series of events is perfectly believable once the initial impossibility has occurred: He spends his free time reading and writing about reading, and his reading notes can be read on his website.

Saramago makes her sympathetic, as she confronts a problem she has never encountered before: Besides, all the many things that have been said about god and death are just stories, and this is another one. It sounds like I need to grab this one as well, as the synopsis sounds so very intriguing to me. The Catholic Church feels threatened by this new turn of events, as the end of death would call into question one of the fundamental foundations of their dogma: Though the traditional sources for guidance on things like life and death endeavor to discover why people have stopped dying, religious authorities, philosophers and scholars alike can find no answers.

Retrieved from ” https: It really is ingenious, and so well executed. What are the implications for the structure of society as we know it?

Funeral workers, on the other hand, fear the opposite problem: She inteerruptions, through a missive sent to the media, that her experiment has ended, and people will begin dying again. Mysteriously, at the stroke of midnight of January 1, no one in the country can die any more.

Love stories ask what it is that brings lovers together and, by extension, what it is that makes us human. Meanwhile, across saramagl border, death continues to claim its victims as before.

People continue to age, suffer from poor health, get shot, have accidents; but they all linger on. I hope that you enjoy reading many more Saramago books in the future.


Death with Interruptions – Wikipedia

Death with Interruptions is shorter than some of his others, which I think made it a good place to start.

Saramago handles the premise ably, picking apart the consequences of this newfound immortality and following each of his threads to its logical conclusion.

Having concluded that simply snatching mortals away without warning is not only cruel but also leaves a interrupyions of loose ends, she begins to send little violet warning letters. 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.

The action moves from high-level politics to the struggles of families whose terminally ill relatives have been petrified in agony by death’s downing of tools.

Retrieved 30 January The complete cessation of dying leads to interruptiond growing fear among healthcare workers that the system will collapse under its own weight: But whereas the vast majority of these accounts focus on the micro-level drama, and the specific individuals involved, Saramago prefers to take a macro level view of the proceedings.

Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

For instance, having related an anecdote concerning a family that seems rather irrelevant to the overall story, the narrator sarmaago His latest fiction to be translated into English is no different. At times, the book almost seems like a Harvard Business School case study penned by Michael Porteraddressing the competitive dynamics of a surprising development in the marketplace.

And then, mid novel, there is a turning point, when a powerful man receives a mysterious violet envelope.