eath With Interruptions
by José Saramago
José Saramago’s slim new novel is a surprisingly original satire, said Laura Miller in Salon.com. Taking up a popular movie premise, the 85-year-old Nobel laureate lets “death take a holiday” as a mortal and fall in love. Because Saramago is mostly interested in the absurdities of our social institutions, the first half of the book is “a droll, extended, and highly enjoyable speculation on the chaos” that might ensue if a sabbatical from mortality were suddenly granted to an entire nation. It’s amusing to watch church and business leaders panic once the ailing and the maimed stop crossing into the netherworld, said D.T. Max in The New York Times. But there can be an “airlessness” to Saramago’s long, wandering sentences, and he often seems “too tired” to pursue his thought experiment to a fresh insight. Perhaps so, said James Wood in The New Yorker. But this “toothy” book becomes “increasingly affecting” when we finally learn that death in the book’s unnamed corner of the world has taken the form of a female functionary with a soft spot for a 50-year-old cellist. It turns out we need death to give meaning to life.
- 10 things you need to know today: December 5, 2013
- Watch The Daily Show definitively prove that corporations are not people
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Australia just scrapped its debt ceiling. America should, too.
- Why income inequality has become the Democratic Party's top issue
- Mexico's unluckiest thieves stole enough radioactive waste to make a dirty bomb
- What to expect when you're expecting (100 years ago)
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- These 5 far-out space projects are making science fiction a reality
Subscribe to the Week