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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I have only read Blindness, a fantastic book, but mean to read more Saramago and your post reminds me why! The industry develops so quickly that the government itself becomes beholden to the maphioso, even bringing it to the brink of war with its neighbors.

I completely understand wanting to save it. 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. And so the conversation continues for four more paragraph-and period-less pages.

I am in love with this book. A means of finally killing people, and relieving families of the burden of 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.

The first half of the book is focused on society at large in the nameless, death-free country. His paragraph breaks are few; his dialogue shuns quotation marks and even line breaks, opting for simple commas instead. People continue to age, suffer from poor health, get shot, have accidents; but they all linger on.

Initially, the people of this country celebrate their apparent victory over mankind’s longtime foe. The key thing here is that Saramago brings the grim reaper onstage as a character, granting her a degree of nuance and reality.

The text is studded with circumlocutions for “death”, including the wonderful “parca’s creaking scissors”, and the story proceeds without friction, as in a dreamworld newscast. The only other proper names in the whole novel are those of the dead, and they are written similarly: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


The most fully developed character in this novel is the personification of death, who is, at best, a one-dimensional protagonist. September Summer Summary: I hope that you enjoy reading many more Saramago books in the future. From here, the story largely moves on to interruptjons on death’s relationship with an otherwise unremarkable cellist who, amazingly, will not die.

August Summer Summary: Apparently, about the same way the heroine of a commercial romance novel would. I found myself constantly delighted by what I read. It is, however, still a novel written by Saramago; his genius command of language and his hilarious timing have not deserted him. At first the interruptoons death of death seems like a cause for celebration.

What are the implications for the structure of society as we know it? This is his strong suit.

Tricks and treats

As in many of his other works, Saramago largely eschews traditional forms of grammar and punctuation. The Country Road by Regina Ullmann This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty wit I had no inkling of where the story would jode, but I greatly enjoyed finding out.

Quotes are huge for me — I think that interurptions you are writing out a conversation, you should use quotation marks, period. His preferred narrative voice is marked by a smugness, false humility and aloofness that would infuriate you if you ran into it in real life.

Death with Interruptions by José Saramago | Quarterly Conversation

Although sarqmago musician is clearly a lover of literature in general, a look at an average shelf in his library will show that he has a special liking for books on astronomy, the natural sciences and nature, and today he has brought with him a handbook on entomology.

You smile at the prime minister trying to explain the problem to his thick-skulled king. My All-Time Favorite Authors. Death discovers that, without reason, this man has mistakenly not been killed. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

The book ends, as it began, by stating that no one died the next day. The living and the dead are brought together here, too. He will write Death, the name of the folkloric hooded skeleton carrying a interruptioms, in lower-case: Jeremy Osner is a software engineer who lives in New Jersey. Fredric March charmed audiences as Death personified in the feath 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.


I was fascinated to see what problem would pop up next and how the affected parties would solve it. I have heard amazing things about Saramago and have a couple of his books on my shelf awaiting me.

The novel becomes an extraordinary romance, joking and yet deadly serious in its mythic elan. Death with Interruptions is shorter, though, so I started with that one. Comments on this entry are closed. It really is ingenious, and so well executed. Have you ever read a book that was so different it actually worked? All this is narrated in Saramago’s customary exquisite deadpan, with his surfeit of happy invention and comically precise offhand detail.

I thought it would be hard to follow, yet somehow Saramago makes it clear who is speaking. The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a saramagi in the unspecified past, opens with the end of death.

I like the title!

I want to read everything else Saramago has ever written, because I suspect that at least a few of his joae novels must be as clever as Death with Interruptions. This page was last edited on 21 Novemberat