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 celebrationflags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits homefamilies 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?
... By the time the narrator has finished with her, death has brought the novel around to yet another fabulous terrain. The ending casts the first sentence in an entirely different light, and I closed the book in triumph and delight. (Reviewed by Amy Reading).
The New Yorker - James Wood Death with Interruptions is a small-ish, toothy addition to a great novelist’s work. It efficiently mobilizes its hypothetical test case, and quickly generates a set of sharp theological and metaphysical questions about the desirability of utopia, the possibility of Heaven, and the true foundation of religion.
San Francisco Chronicle - Linda Burnett
Seamlessly translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Saramago's novel is equal parts whimsical allegory and scholarly dissertation on the meaning of life in the absence of death. It is a book of ideas.
The New York Times - D T Max
[H]ere as in his other recent books, there is an airlessness to Saramago’s writing. One senses that the author, a lifelong critic of capitalism, is mostly interested in pricking the modern state. Critique muscles out character. The book’s humor is thin ... the novelist has to want the readers he or she has. With Saramago, the rustling sound is the feeling he's pushing us away.
The Washington Post - Ron Charles
If this sounds campy, it is, but Saramago is always ten steps ahead of us, subverting cliches, interjecting ancient philosophical concerns into his gags and scattering grenades of bitterness among the laughs…This is a story that can't possibly work or affect us, but it does, deeply, sweetly. It's a novel to die for.
Starred Review. The package is profound, resonant and - bonus - entertaining
Starred Review. One of our greatest living writers, Saramago continues to produce stimulating and multifaceted work well into his eighties.
Simultaneously, we may sense we hear the voice of a great artisan who may not have shown us the last of his creations; who instead whispers his promise: Not just yet, there's more to be told.
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 depicts death as a female angel, but contemporary film and
literature typically characterize death as the Grim Reaper, a male figure of
wordless dread. Until now, the personification of death has been largely
confined to genre fiction, such as Piers Anthony's Incarnations of
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...