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.

Author: Maran Zulujora
Country: Mongolia
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Education
Published (Last): 23 April 2011
Pages: 10
PDF File Size: 18.25 Mb
ePub File Size: 8.20 Mb
ISBN: 540-7-45774-968-4
Downloads: 10103
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Bashicage

Yet in the second half of the novel, Saramago shifts gears entirely.

Death with Interruptions – Wikipedia

While love may be part of death’s transformation, she discovers something else to be the mortal’s secret. Every time death sends him his letter, it returns. 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.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I love how lyrical his writing is, and I think he always picks such interesting premises to explore! 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.

Love stories ask what it is that brings lovers together and, by extension, what it is that makes us human. Like Terry Pratchett’s memorably stoical skeleton in Mort, Saramago’s death is often very funny.

Have you ever read a book that was so different it actually worked? I found myself constantly delighted by what I read.

Seath 30 January The small initial letter is also important: It almost seems like a different novel altogether, except that the mystery that runs through both halves is the same.


Saramago is, indeed, a powerful wielder of words! Funeral workers, on the other hand, fear the opposite problem: Stay in the Loop Get new Erin Reads posts by email the day they’re published! What a thoroughly ingenious idea.

Saramago admits, and indeed revels in, the many absurdities that this raises: The cellist, meanwhile, josd only person who continues to elude death after she has resumed her duties, is potentially a very interesting interruotions. Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing Portuguese-language text. Caught between a rock and a hard place, between scylla and charybdis, between the devil and the deep blue sea, he rushed to consult the prime minister about this unexpected gordian knot.

Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

You chuckle at the plight of the professionals who depend on death for their livelihood—at the gravediggers and the hospital directors and the funeral homes and the insurance companies, at their conferences and their pleading letters to the state. Fredric March charmed audiences as Death personified in the film Death Takes a Holidayand accounts of mortals who elude the Grim Reaper are pervasive in traditional cultures—for example, some variant of the Orpheus myth has been identified in more than fifty different Native American tribes, and figures in cultures from every part of the globe.

The book ends, as it began, by stating that no one interruprions the next day.

If we cannot envisage even death, let alone what comes after death, what point is there in religion? It is impossible to avoid the question, How will she resolve this challenge to her authority? The cliched, circular answer is that it is love that makes us human.

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

Books Previous post: As with Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the series of events is perfectly believable once the initial impossibility has occurred: His paragraph breaks are few; his dialogue shuns quotation marks and even line breaks, opting for simple commas instead.


The violet-envelope-encased letters create a frenzy in the country, as people are not just returned to dying, but also must face the specter of receiving one of these letters and having their fate sealed with it. It really is ingenious, and so well executed.

This web site and its sister sites may receive promotional copies of review items and other materials from publisher, publicists and other parties. 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.

I hope you enjoy whichever you start with! I definitely think Saramago is destined to be a classic author. Here the cellist sits reading in the park:. For death, a morte, is feminine in gender in Portuguese and this gender is preserved in the English translation.

What a fascinating concept—the death of death-but I think the style would get to me. Most readers will find that nothing here takes them by surprise, or makes them look saramsgo the book from a new perspective.

Apparently, about the same way the heroine of a commercial romance novel would. The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death.