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What If Death Just Stopped?

That's the question that Jose Saramago asks in his novel Death with Interruptions and I have got to say that this was a really great read.


I was first introduced to Saramago during a trip to Portugal almost a decade ago but never read anything by him. After a more recent trip, I decided to look into the Portuguese author and this was a book that seemed to really speak to me. I mean, who wouldn't be interested in knowing why death just stopped? Or for what reasons?


Cover of Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

One day, in a certain unnamed country all human death just ceases. And while you might think that is a good thing, it means that people on the brink of death whether by sickness or gruesome accident, simply cannot die. Instead they hang on to life stuck, never improving or getting worse. And Saramago answers the question of what would happen to government, to home life, to financial infrastructure if such a thing were to happen in a way that feels new and fresh.


Then we reach the halfway point and death returns, but death decides to send letters exactly seven days before a person is to die. Does that make it better than a sudden or unexpected death? Does knowing you're going to die really mean you'll get your estate in order, be a better person for those last few hours? Or does it mean you'll give way to even more treachery? These are other questions that Saramago brings to light.


Stars: 5/5


If you are interested in Saramago, one thing I must tell you about this book is that his sentences are long and nothing is capitalized other than the first word in every sentence. So, that is something to be prepared for. However, it works in his favor. Because the sentences are so long, you keep reading and it feels almost like stream of consciousness yet you are inside no one's head. Instead, you're simply witnessing events that are occurring. And the lack of capitalization also adds to the irreverent feel of the novel.


I love a good book in translation and this one was no different. What is a book in translation that you think I should add to my TBR pile?


Side note: There were a ton of great quotes in this book!

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