"The following day, no one died," begins Death with Interruptions
the rest of the novel scrambles to catch up to this extraordinary new reality.
Before the first deathless day is out, the cardinal calls the prime minister to
upbraid him for celebrating the body's new immortality. The end of death means,
after all, the end of the Church, "since this was clearly the only agricultural
implement god possessed with which to plough the roads that would lead to his
kingdom." What will the state do if death does not return, asks the
cardinal. What will the Church do, asks the prime minister in kind. The cardinal
answers smoothly, "The church has never been asked to explain anything, our
specialty, along with ballistics, has always been the neutralization of the
overly curious mind through faith." Death's disappearance reveals the
struts propping up the...
Beyond the Book
Death in Literature
Saramago's characterization of death departs from convention in several waysnot least in her
insistence in remaining lower case: "I am not Death, but death. Death is
something of which you could never even conceive, and please note, mister
grammarian, that I did not conclude that phrase with a preposition, you human
beings only know the small everyday death that is me, the death which, even in
the very worst disasters, is incapable of preventing life from continuing, one
day you will find out about Death with a capital D, and at that moment, you will
understand the real difference between the relative and the absolute, between
full and empty, between still alive and no longer alive
Much Western painting...