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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For instance, having related an anecdote concerning a family that seems rather irrelevant to the overall story, the narrator comments:.

Death with Interruptions by José Saramago | Quarterly Conversation

In Death at Intervals Saramago explores, among other things, the ramifications for this process of a minute orthographic decision. How has he, alone among humans, escaped his destiny?

If an award were given for run-on sentences, he would win it every year. So the novel is not a successful one. Those who have not read him before will be startled from the very first page of his new novel, when speech first appears. 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 new or unexpected.

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.

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Oh, I wonder what his books would be like on audio?? Thanks for the excellent review. I love how lyrical his writing is, and I think he always picks such interesting premises to explore!

We are now back in Fredric March territory, and the focus shifts from the macro level of the first half of the book to the specific situation of a small cast of characters. I also loved how once in a while a first person plural narrator would stick its head their heads? Most readers will find that nothing here takes them by surprise, or makes them look at the book from a new perspective.


The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death. From here, the story largely moves on to focus on death’s relationship with an otherwise unremarkable cellist who, amazingly, will not die. This web site and its sister sites may receive promotional copies of review items and other materials from publisher, publicists and other parties.

My favourite is Blindness whicj I loved for its emotional impact, but it sounds as though this book is just as clever as The Double. It almost seems like a different novel altogether, except that the mystery that runs through both halves is the same.

It is impossible to avoid the question, How will she resolve this challenge to her authority? We might think, then, of Death at Intervals as a companion volume to All the Names, or in a way interruptilns photographic negative.

Tricks and treats

Here the cellist sits reading in the park:. Then there is the writing.

I have a long history eeath loving experimental fiction! Retrieved from ” https: Some have compared this writer to Kafka and Borges, and at his finest moments Saramago approaches their artistry. July Summer Summary: As for themes, there is much said in Death with Interruptions about death as you might have guessedbut also about love, as well as sharp insight into our natures as human beings.

Thoughts on “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago

Meanwhile, the families of some people in arrested death smuggle them over the border to get rid of them, because death has only ceased within the imaginary outline of this one nation.

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.


Initially, the people of joze country celebrate their interuptions victory over mankind’s longtime foe. Itnerruptions are huge for me — I think that if you are writing out a conversation, you should use quotation marks, period.

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.

June Summer Summary: Described thus, the technique might sound messy. Stay in the Loop Get new Erin Reads posts by email the day they’re published! The only other proper names in the whole novel are those of the dead, and they interruptipns written similarly: Two stories are stitched together, and the linkages between them are unsatisfying.

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”.

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

But the author paints him in only the very roughest of strokes. I can deal with stylized writing—I really dug Nothing Like the Sun —but ssramago some old standbys of grammar out the window would just bug me.

The living, by contrast, are all named descriptively: But somehow Saramago makes of it a fruitful confusion, a beautiful smudging. He works as though cradling a thing of magic. Yet as more and more institutions—nursing homes, hospitals, funeral parlors, insurance companies, churches—are affected, the weight of this new deathless state becomes increasingly difficult to bear.