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Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago s brilliant new novel poses the question what happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no death On the first day of the new year, no one dies This, of course, causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially mass celebration Flags are hung out on balconies people dance in the streets They have achieved the great goal of humanity eternal life Then reality hits home families are left to care for the permanently dying life insurance policies become meaningless and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets and contemplates her experiment What if no one ever died again What if she, death with a small d, became human and were to fall in love The following day, no one died.Oh, humanity, always wishing for what we cannot have Eternal life, the eternal dream But what if it came true What if no one died Well, this is what happens in this book.The day is normal, nothing seems out of place except people are not dying any Dream come true, right Well, you always have to be careful what you wish for When people say they want to live forever, they think youth and health come as granted, but death s plans were only to give hers The following day, no one died.Oh, humanity, always wishing for what we cannot have Eternal life, the eternal dream But what if it came true What if no one died Well, this is what happens in this book.The day is normal, nothing seems out of place except people are not dying any Dream come true, right Well, you always have to be careful what you wish for When people say they want to live forever, they think youth and health come as granted, but death s plans were only to give herself a vacation from killing people, not to stop time and heal everything.So starts a conflict in which people start to freak out and realise the problem that is nodeaths As it happened in Blindness, the realism of it all is striking When people get desperate, stupid decisions come with it as well, and things get evencomplicated for them because they don t know what to do with all the bodies of people who were supposed to be corpses.But death hasplans She decides to play evenwith people, and she wants to havefun In the process, however, she starts to feel love Love towards the life humans live, and is she falling in love with someone What would that represent How hard can life get if she, the only with the power to kill when it pleases her, decides she likes humansthan her original form There are many important themes addressed in this book For example, religion is one of them Saramago s opinion is not surprising considering he was an atheist You can guess what some of his messages were He never meant to insult religious people, so don t worry about that.Character wise there s not much development, and it s not really necessary because the book iscomposed of what if s and social consequences of an initial action However, I must say, death yes, without capital d is a fantastic character She s so human Unexpectedly human, one would think We imagine that skeleton with a scythe, but she s a woman, with feelings, and all, and a scythe with whom she talks too.The writing gets a little to get used to If you ve read Blindness or any other book by Saramago, then you already know he does not use quotation marks to denote dialogue, so you have to guess when and who is talking The paragraphs are very long too, therefore, people with short attention span have to be patient if they want to read this book.Please don t be scared about this latter point, though I promise you the book is worth it, and the concept is very interesting, and keeps interesting throughout the book Plus, Saramago was an amazing writer, with a well deserved Nobel Prize and all Now I want to continue his works with reading Seeing, which is the sequel to Blindness, another fantastic book I also recommend wholeheartedly.Answer me this question now Do you want to know what the real consequences of an hypothetical eternal life are Do you want to live forever If the you say yes to the first one, then read this What happens if people stop dying After a general celebration many people are actually in trouble undertakers, those who work for cemeteries and insurance companies and others The nation passes a law that pets must be given full burials Insurance companies change procedures so that people in their 80 s get the benefits Even religions have a problem if people don t expect to die Lady Death has taken a holiday in this one country And she is a she in languages with gendered pronouns But What happens if people stop dying After a general celebration many people are actually in trouble undertakers, those who work for cemeteries and insurance companies and others The nation passes a law that pets must be given full burials Insurance companies change procedures so that people in their 80 s get the benefits Even religions have a problem if people don t expect to die Lady Death has taken a holiday in this one country And she is a she in languages with gendered pronouns But people still age Now Grandma will be suffering up in that corner bedroom indefinitely Some people start smuggling the very elderly across the border where they die and are buried A new industry grows up around that Are they heroes or villains A lot of the early part of the book is a cynical description of political compromise and government inefficiency and corruption After all this ruckus, Death although she prefers using the lower case d decides to send a letter to the prime minister of the country announcing that Death will resume her duties but that in the future everyone will receive a purple envelope with a letter announcing their death a week in advance so they can put their affairs in order But one letter keeps getting returned by the post office nothing mystical, probably just the usual bureaucratic screw ups Death leaves her cold, windowless office and decides to investigate The person the letter is addressed to is a middle aged man, a cellist, living a solitary life with his dog Death starts spying on him as home without being seen, but then assumes human form and starts going to his concerts Some lines I liked but neither did we want merely to relegate it to the darkness of the inkwell they went out for wool and came home shorn One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do The book has chapter breaks but is structured in page length paragraphs with mostly commas There is occasional dialogue but no quotation marks A good read although not my favorite by Nobel Prize winner Saramago Intermit ncias da Morte Death with Interruptions Death at Intervals, Jos Saramago 1922 2010 Death with Interruptions published in Britain as Death at Intervals , is a novel written by Jos Saramago First released in 2005 in its original Portuguese, the novel was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa in 2008 The novel centers around death as both a phenomenon, and as an anthropomorphized character A key focus of the book is how society relates to death in both of these forms, Intermit ncias da Morte Death with Interruptions Death at Intervals, Jos Saramago 1922 2010 Death with Interruptions published in Britain as Death at Intervals , is a novel written by Jos Saramago First released in 2005 in its original Portuguese, the novel was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa in 2008 The novel centers around death as both a phenomenon, and as an anthropomorphized character A key focus of the book is how society relates to death in both of these forms, and likewise, how death relates to the people she is meant to kill 2011 1389 250 9789641910961 20 1389 216 9789643743239 Jos Saramago s imagination appeals to me I cherished Death with Interruptions from the first page It s was not only the author s incredible creativity or his masterful writing but also the fact that here he deals with something so close to all human beingsdeathWho, after all, at some point in life, hasn t asked why do we have to dieThe dream of immortality has fascinated humanity foreverThe following day, no one diedSo simply Saramago begins in an undisclosed small E Jos Saramago s imagination appeals to me I cherished Death with Interruptions from the first page It s was not only the author s incredible creativity or his masterful writing but also the fact that here he deals with something so close to all human beingsdeathWho, after all, at some point in life, hasn t asked why do we have to dieThe dream of immortality has fascinated humanity foreverThe following day, no one diedSo simply Saramago begins in an undisclosed small European country, without any logic or harbinger, people suddenly stopped dyingHaving lived, until those days of confusion, in what they had imagined to be the best of all possible and probable worlds, they were discovering, with delight, that the best, the absolute best, was happening right now, right there, at the door of their house, a unique and marvelous life without the daily fear of parca s creaking scissors, immortality in the land that gave us our being, safe from any metaphysical awkwardnesses and free to everyone, with no sealed orders to open at the hour of our death, announcing at that crossroads where dear companions in this vale of tears known as earth were forced to part and set off for their different destinations in the next world, you to paradise, you to purgatory, you down to hellA dream come through, correct But nothing is for free on this earth of ours, and very soon the exultation starts to die down As the days goes by what we discover in Saramago s fascinating story is ultimately thousands of people suspended on the edge of dying Slowly the country finds itself disoriented for what to do, immersed in a new confusion People lose jobs nojobs for undertakers or gravediggers, and so many others that depended on it Religion has lost its reason and its greatest reward, resurrection And philosophers are left speechless facing the fact of asociety torn between the hope of living forever and the fear of never dying How everything seems to have turned upside down life is now the inconvenienceIf we don t start dying again, we have no futureApart from any judgment on Saramago s religious feelings that probably dwell underneath his novel or any religion discussion, his unique narration is so superbly delivered that it conquers the reader And he is always amazing usDue to some strange optical phenomenon, real or virtual, death seems much smaller now as if her bones had shrunk, or perhaps she was always like that, and it s our eyes, wide with fear, that make her look like a giant Poor death It makes us feel like going over and putting a hand on her hard shoulder and whispering a few words of sympathy in her ear, or, rather, in the place where her ear once was, underneath the parietalSaramago simply captivates the reader Read it if you enjoy something that will leave you with muchthan with what you started before opening one of his books As his literature Nobel Prize attests, he knows how to write He is brilliant, and you won t forget him after the first taste.