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 is shorter, though, so I started with that one. I am in love with this book. It is, however, still a novel written by Saramago; his genius command of language and his hilarious timing have not deserted him.

I had no inkling of where the story would go, but I greatly enjoyed finding out. I have only read Blindness, a fantastic book, but mean to read more Saramago and your post reminds me why!

It contains music, and a dog, and the ever-present narrator, who admits disarmingly to “taking advantage of the reader’s credulity, and leaping over the respect owed to the logic of events”.

He spends his free time drath and writing about reading, and his reading notes can be read on his website. The embargo on death comes to a sudden halt midway through the book, and people start dying again. What a thoroughly ingenious idea.

So there they stay. I thought it would be hard to follow, yet somehow Saramago makes it clear who is speaking. My favourite is Blindness whicj Sarmaago loved for its emotional impact, but it sounds as though this book is just as clever as The Double.

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

The anonymous, perhaps only hypothetical speaker begins talking in the middle of a narrative sentence, following a comma, with no quotation marks but only a capital letter to mark the beginning of his speech and nothing to mark its end.


The Catholic Church feels threatened sramago this new turn of events, as the end of death would call into question one of the fundamental foundations of their dogma: For instance, having related an anecdote concerning a family that seems rather irrelevant to the overall story, the narrator comments:.

Oh, I wonder what his books would be like on audio?? I hope you enjoy whichever you start with! When you do decide to dig in, enjoy. Then, at the halfway point, something happens, of which we learn after a masterful page sequence of narrative suspense, deliberately withholding a crucial fact of epistolary information that the publisher’s blurb blithely betrays on the back cover.

Saramago is, indeed, a powerful wielder of words! Every time death sends him his letter, it returns. His paragraph breaks intreruptions few; his dialogue shuns quotation marks and even line breaks, opting for simple commas instead. This sounds absolutely fascinating and a must read.

Some have compared this writer to Kafka and Borges, and at his finest moments Saramago approaches their artistry.

Contact Ted Gioia at tedgioia hotmail. The incapacitated are brought over the borders of the country, where they instantly die, as death has not ceased working elsewhere.

Thoughts on “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago

By not privileging the narrator’s voice he enacts a kind of democracy. 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.

In the first half of his book, Saramago is less interested in how specific characters deal with the disappearance of death than, as noted above, with the group dynamics that ensue.

Funeral workers, on the other hand, fear the opposite problem: Fortunately, about halfway in something happens: I saramagk a long history of loving experimental fiction!


He will write Death, the name of jnterruptions folkloric hooded skeleton carrying a scythe, in lower-case: 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. Retrieved 30 January What a fascinating concept—the death of death-but I think the style would get to me. Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing Portuguese-language text. But somehow Interrhptions makes of it a fruitful confusion, a beautiful smudging.

Retrieved from ” https: 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. The allegory is sometimes only a whisker away from modern reality.

The book ends, as it began, by stating that no one died the next day. And as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that this hiatus in death is not interruptios an one day anomaly, but is continuing indefinitely—at least in the unnamed country where the story transpires.

Meanwhile, across the border, death continues to claim its victims as before. The novel centers around death as both a phenomenon, and as an anthropomorphized character. Mysteriously, at the stroke of midnight of January 1, no one in the country can die any more. And we call it atroposthat is, death. The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death.