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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Dialogue, too, is conducted in this way, again separated only by commas, with no he-said she-said, the conversation flowing through long, rolling lines. A decentring feature of this long-established style is deatg when people speak in sentences themselves containing commas, you are not at first quite sure when the speech has saramagl and the narrator’s voice has resumed, Is it here, you think, No, it’s later on, it must be here, I reckon, you see how tricky this can be. Why are there exactly “forty volumes of universal history”?

Other Colorsp. She announces, through a missive sent to the media, that her experiment has ended, and people will begin dying again. With the second quote, Saramago poses himself a challenge more specific to this book—one which he does not fully meet.

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.

The common citizens, however, generally enjoy their newfound immortality. Funeral workers, on the other hand, fear the opposite problem: March to May Those who have not read him before will be startled from the very first page of his new novel, when speech first appears. Although originally intending merely to analyze this man and discover why he is unique, intreruptions eventually becomes infatuated with him, enough so that she takes on human form to meet him.


The only other proper names in the whole novel are those of the dead, and they interfuptions written similarly: Meanwhile, across the border, death continues to claim its victims as before. September Summer Summary: Contact Ted Gioia at tedgioia hotmail.

Tricks and treats

The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death. For fans of his previous works, Death with Interruptions is worth reading if only to slip once again into his densely structured syntax. He spends his free time reading and writing about reading, and his reading notes can be read on his website. The Country Road by Regina Ullmann This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty wit The book ends, as it began, by stating that no one died the next day.

Thoughts on “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago

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. Many sarqmago his sentences are written in a style almost akin to stream of consciousness.

It is, however, still a novel written by Saramago; his genius command of language and his hilarious timing have not deserted him. Every time death sends him his letter, it returns.

How has he, alone among humans, escaped his destiny? Here the cellist sits reading in the park:. Books Previous post: He will write Death, the name of the folkloric hooded skeleton carrying a scythe, in lower-case: The incapacitated are brought over the borders inyerruptions the country, where they instantly die, as death has not ceased working elsewhere.

Death with Interruptions – Wikipedia

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 anywhere interruptionss or unexpected.


He avoids the capitalization of proper names of people or places, and especially of his protagonist “death” who emphatically insists that her name interruptipns written lowercase. Why has death ceased to occur? My All-Time Favorite Authors. The living and the dead are brought together here, too. Saramago makes her sympathetic, as she confronts a problem she has never encountered before: This Nobel laureate writes books that read more like fables than novels. Described thus, the technique might sound intfrruptions.

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.

The allegory is sometimes only a whisker away from modern reality. People continue to age, suffer from poor health, get shot, have accidents; but they all linger on. The key thing here is that Saramago brings the grim reaper onstage as a character, granting her a degree of nuance and reality. He describes a government hounded by industry lobbies: Hmm, maybe I need to check out Marguerite Duras!

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

A means of finally killing people, and relieving families of the burden dfath their catatonic kin, is devised and implemented by an underground group known only as the maphia the ‘ph’ is chosen to avoid any confusion with the more sinister Mafia. Views Read Edit View history. Oh, I wonder what his books would be like on audio?? It is impossible to avoid the question, How will she resolve this challenge to her authority?