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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Thoughts on “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago

If an award were given for run-on sentences, he would win it every year. The industry develops so quickly that the government itself becomes beholden to the maphioso, even bringing it to the brink deeath war with its neighbors.

I think it would depend even more than usual on the narrator. With the second quote, Saramago poses himself a challenge more specific to this book—one which he does not fully meet.

Thoughts on “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago

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: 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.

The embargo on death comes to a sudden halt midway through the book, and people start dying again. All this is narrated in Saramago’s customary exquisite deadpan, with his surfeit of happy invention and comically precise offhand detail. This page was last edited on 21 Novemberat The book divides, as Seeing did, almost evenly into a first half consisting of broad political satire and a more tightly focused second half that develops characters and tells their story.

Saramago tackles these questions and more as this incredibly unique and creative tale unfolds. Comments on this entry are closed. 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. So there they stay. 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.

How has he, alone among humans, escaped his destiny?

I was fascinated to see what problem would pop up next and how the affected parties would solve it. September Summer Summary: March to May I also loved how once in a while a first person plural narrator would stick its head their heads?

Saramago makes her sympathetic, as she confronts a problem she has never encountered before: I completely understand wanting to save it. But the author paints him in only the very roughest of strokes. It really is ingenious, and so saramzgo executed. This is a peculiar type of fiction, but no one does it better than Saramago, who is the supreme chronicler of organizational behavior in crisis situations.

So the novel is not a successful one. I have heard amazing things about Saramago and have a couple of his books on my shelf awaiting me. 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 dexth marketplace. Other Colorsp.

Tricks and treats

I thought it would be hard to follow, yet somehow Saramago makes it clear who is speaking. First released in in its original Portuguese, the novel was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa in This primes us for an allusion to a character in Saramago’s earlier novel, the Borgesian love story All the Names.

August Summer Summary: Then there is the writing. And then, mid novel, there is a turning point, when a powerful man sarajago a mysterious violet envelope. By not privileging the narrator’s voice he enacts a kind of democracy.


Why are there exactly “forty volumes of universal history”? What a thoroughly ingenious idea. When you do decide to dig in, enjoy. This Nobel laureate writes books that read more like fables than sarmaago. Have daeth ever read a book that was so different it actually worked?

The complete cessation of dying leads to a growing fear among healthcare workers that the system will collapse under its own weight: I can deal with stylized writing—I really dug Nothing Like the Sun —but tossing some old standbys of grammar out the window would just bug dexth.

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.

Nursing homes unhappily foresee a future when the majority of society will have reached arrested death, supported by a dwindling number of young. I hope you enjoy whichever you start with! By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You smile at the prime minister trying to explain the problem to his thick-skulled king. He will write Death, the name of the folkloric hooded skeleton carrying a scythe, in lower-case: The New York Times.

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.