Philip Womack admires another fable from Nobel Laureate José Saramago. Buy Death at Intervals by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa from Amazon’s Fiction Books Store. Everyday low prices on a huge range of new releases and. In José Saramago’s latest novel, death falls in love and takes a holiday.

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By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. First released in in its original Portuguese, the novel was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa in He describes a government hounded by industry lobbies: Death, the novel’s theme, becomes its protagonist, in the form of a skeleton wrapped in a sheet.

Unlike Pratchett’s Death, the local death of this novel can adopt human form, especially as the strike and subsequent change of practice causes her millennia-old system to stumble. Perhaps his greatest novel, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, takes a simple twist – Jesus was the son of Joseph, not God – to explore matters of belief, duty and sin. Those who have not read him before will be startled from the very first page of his new novel, when speech first appears. Now we’ve got the point, the author intervenes halfway through to reverse the plot and bring death back.

When it is discovered that people in other countries are still dying, families start taking their nearly-dead across the borders, whereupon they die immediately: Do we have the right to take our lives or help those who wish to but cannot? The living and the dead are brought together here, too. His latest fiction to be translated into English is no different. Retrieved from ” https: Saramago’s playful novel about death.


The long shadow of thanatos has been withdrawn, dsath the church gets upset: The first line is, as first lines go, a corker: The hospitals and social services struggle to cope with the numbers of dying people not dying. The violet-envelope-encased letters create a sraamago in the country, as people are not just returned to dying, but also must face the specter of receiving one of these letters and having their fate sealed with it.

Matthew Adams meets him Read more.

Saramago’s playful novel about death

The book is an extended riff, a joyous, burbling, warm satire on human frailty, shot through with veins of dark humour, and despite the fact that the latter half fails to convince as much as the riotous first half, is a thing of wonder and beauty, delighting in the instability of language and human and inhuman nature. This joy is short-lived – it soon becomes apparent that inteervals end of death presents unique demographic and financial challenges.

The Catholic Church feels threatened by this new turn of events, as the end of death would call into question one of the fundamental foundations of their dogma: Although originally intending merely to analyze this man and discover why he is unique, death eventually becomes infatuated with him, enough so that she takes on human form to meet him.

The euphoria of the people very quickly gives way to panic and confusion. As with Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the series of events is perfectly believable once the initial impossibility has occurred: The allegory is sometimes only a whisker away from modern reality.


She announces, through a missive sent to the media, that her experiment has ended, and people will begin dying again. Death at Intervals is ostensibly a satire on vanity and immortality, but loses coherence as Saramago ignores all narrative constraints to let his thoughts run riot. Four Lions A film that laughs at suicide intedvals but doesn’t offend anyone? The incapacitated are brought over the borders of the country, where they instantly die, as death has not ceased working elsewhere.

By not privileging the narrator’s voice he enacts a kind of democracy.

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

The novel becomes an extraordinary romance, joking and yet deadly serious in its mythic elan. The book, based in an unnamed, landlocked country at a point in the unspecified past, opens with the end of saramaho. Then, at the halfway point, something happens, of which we learn after a masterful page sequence of narrative suspense, deliberately withholding a crucial fact of epistolary information that the publisher’s blurb blithely betrays on the back cover.

But somehow Saramago swramago of it a fruitful confusion, a beautiful smudging.