“The following day, no one died.” This is the first sentence and the overall premise of Death at Intervals (published in the US as Death with Interruptions), a novel by the Portuguese nobel winner José Saramago whos magical realism is already known, first released in 2005 in Portugal.
With his bold and courageous originality, Saramago uses diverse fantasy elements as a mean to convey his message. José Saramago does this brilliantly creating a story that is impossible to forget. Much like his other books, Death at Intervals manages to get the readers to think about their deeper selves. His rather controversial writing style is, in my opinion, brilliant and showcases how comfortable the author is with his own mind, creating something fairly similar to someone speaking their mind most fluently.
This work is informally divided into two parts when it comes to motifs/themes. The first is the most satirical and politicized, dealing with the practical aspects of the issue of the end of mortality: in this one, Saramago explores the hypocrisy and demagogy from booth the government and the church, the smugness of the king, the interests of entities in whose activity have practical implications, such as nursing homes, insurance companies and funeral homes.
The second part of the book details the particular, the sentimental, being Death the main protagonist (in this book death is female). It’s an interesting study of human love in its varied circumstances and consequences, managing to make important reflections on the concept of death on a more personalized level and contributing to the fantastic characterization of human nature. This characterization is always one of Saramago’s main goal, which always splendidly fulfilled.
Overall, and as you can probably tell, I really loved this book. I liked the way the author approached the subject: real, inevitable and natural; especially in the first part. It is so smoothly and effortlessly done that we can only stand back and appreciate the perfect fusion of what is said and the way it is said. In my opinion, no one writes quite like Saramago.
I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
Bye, keep on reading.
Links to the book:
Seeing by Saramago is, to a certain degree, a dystopian novel about nameless city, ruled by nameless people, in a unknow year.
What would happen if 80% of the population of the capital decided to turn in blank ballots for the elections? After reading this book I’m still not quite sure but it certainly gave me an idea.
After having had time to take in the results of the elections, the government decides that the outcome must have been the result of some form of conspiracy. They decide to put the capital under siege, needless to say, this had no impact whatsoever on the population, who continued to live their lives as if nothing had happened.
This leads to the government taking increasingly hostile actions against the capital, blocking it off from the rest of the nation, taking over the press, using excessive surveillance, committing disloyal actions against their own citizens and after a while going after scapegoats to bring everything back to normal.
The first part of the book was rather slow, but 100 pages in I started to get into it and feeling more and more drawn into the plot. Most like in any other Saramago’s novel you have to be mindful of the long paragraphs with the dialogue embedded instead of pulled out as quotes, which if you have read anything by him before you have grown accustomed to.
This book is a brilliant political satire, which I was expecting, and my love for Saramago’s books remains, as it was, indestructible. When characters from Blindness started showing up halfway through the book my heart just gave in.
I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to every single soul that inhabits this planet.
Bye, keep on reading.
Alo alo, habitantes da Internet!
Acho que é a primeira critica que aqui escrevo em português, mas como as únicas cópias que encontrei deste livro foram em português e castelhano não pensei que fosse útil para ninguém fazer isto em inglês. No entanto, tenho muito mais receio de escrever em português, talvez por ser estranhamente mais intimo, por favor não julguem. Bora nessa!
Este primeiro volume de Cadernos de Lanzarote trata-se do diário mantido por Saramago no ano de 1993 (ou 94 ainda não percebi bem), enquanto morou na ilha em causa juntamente com Pilar. Neste diário o autor foca-se maioritariamente em episódios quotidianos, algumas reflexões filosóficas e claro na sua opinião implacável sobre inúmeros tópicos.
Sendo Saramago um dos meus escritores preferidos, era inevitável ler estes pequenos diários. Para falar verdade, não esperava adorar este livro, afinal de contas é um diário (um exercício que pode ser visto como narcísico, tendo em conta que o autor sabia que ia ser publicado). Foi uma leitura rápida que me deixou ainda mais apaixonada pela escrita deste autor maravilhoso. Saramago salta-nos das paginas dos livros e ficamos perante aquilo que parece ser uma verdadeira modéstia que seriamos capazes de esperara de um autor como ele.
A simples descrição do seu dia a dia deixa-me maravilhada e as conversas que conta ter com pessoas que fazem parte da nossa memoria e cultura coletiva criam em mim um quê de inveja e simultaneamente de respeito.
Foi uma leitura leve e divertida que me levou para dentro da mente de um dos meus escritores preferidos. Recomendo o livro a todos os que apreciam a escrita de Saramago e claro para aqueles que tencionam entender melhor a vida do artista.
Dou ao livro 4 em 5 estrelas.
Adeus e não se cansem de ler!