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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Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

Why are there exactly “forty volumes of universal history”? If an award were given for run-on sentences, he would win it every year.

The text is studded with circumlocutions for “death”, including the wonderful “parca’s creaking scissors”, and interrultions story proceeds without friction, as in a dreamworld newscast.

It almost seems like a different novel altogether, except that the mystery that runs interruptiobs both halves is the same. But somehow Saramago makes of it a fruitful confusion, a beautiful smudging. Death investigates the case of this mysterious, and seemingly immortal musician, and soon finds herself hopelessly attracted to her intended victim.

Saramago tackles these questions and more as this incredibly unique and iinterruptions tale unfolds. 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.

It is, however, still a novel written by Saramago; his genius command of language and his hilarious timing have not deserted him. Death discovers that, without reason, this man has mistakenly not been killed.


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.

Death with Interruptions by José Saramago | Quarterly Conversation

I also loved how once in a while a first person plural narrator would stick its head their heads? His preferred narrative voice is marked by a josee, false humility and aloofness that would infuriate you if szramago ran into it in real life. General joy at this dawning realisation soon gives way to trouble, as Saramago gleefully pursues the satirical implications. This web site and its sister sites may receive promotional copies of review items and other materials from publisher, publicists and other parties.

How will she resolve this challenge to her authority? Fortunately, about halfway in something happens: It sounds like I need to grab this one as well, as the synopsis sounds so very intriguing to me. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For instance, having related an anecdote concerning a family interrutpions seems rather irrelevant to the overall story, the narrator comments:.

Although the musician is clearly a lover of literature in general, a look at an average shelf in interrjptions 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.


This is his strong suit. No one writes quite like Saramago, so solicitous and yet so magnificently free.

With the second quote, Saramago poses himself a challenge more specific to this book—one which he does not fully meet. Suddenly the focus shrinks down to the intertuptions of a single person.

Two stories are stitched together, and the linkages between them are unsatisfying. Yet in the second half of the novel, Saramago shifts gears entirely.

Tricks and treats

It really is ingenious, and so ihterruptions executed. Sometimes his books proceed like experiments undertaken by a crazed social engineer with a hypertrophied sense of the ironic. How has he, alone among humans, escaped his destiny?

Hmm, maybe I need to check out Marguerite Duras! It is impossible to avoid the question, How will she resolve this challenge to her authority? This primes us for dfath allusion to a character in Saramago’s earlier novel, the Borgesian love story All the Names. Views Read Edit View history. Apparently, about the same way the heroine of a commercial romance novel would.