Death With Interruptions by José Saramago

  • Started on: 2018-03-15
  • Finished on: 2018-03-21
  • Read in: English
  • Rating: “*****”
  • Genre(s): Magical Realism


Years and years ago I first came across José Saramago and his works when I was looking for more writers who write magical realism (magic realistic? magically real?). Of course he has won the Nobel Prize in Literature, so his qualities as a writer are well rewarded.

I picked up Death With Interruptions from our local charity shop, and the premise intrigued me immediately. What if, all of a sudden, starting January first, death took a break? People just wouldn’t die? But what about really old people? And what about accidents? And where would you put all those people? What about retirement homes? What about funeral directors? What about other countries?

Saramago, in his trademark run-on style, explores everything that might happen if death decided to just not do her (yes her) duty. The first part of the book deals with that, and the second part deals with the effects of the compromise death offers the humans of the country in this story.

As always, it takes some getting used to Saramago’s style. You have to concentrate, and it actually lends itself more for reading aloud. But when I got into it, it really gripped me, and I couldn’t wait to finish this book to see what would happen. I love how Saramago can take a simple idea (what if death just stopped?) and runs with it, exploring every nook and cranny of the consequences. While his work is magical, it comes down to humanity. This is another classic, five out of five stars for me.