Friday, January 04, 2008

BOOKS | New Jose Saramago

I was looking through the new release for 2008 the other day. I came across news on the forthcoming English translation of Jose Saramago's Death at Intervals -- to be published by Harvill this February.

Synopsis from Amazon UK:

On the first day of the New Year, no one dies. This understandably causes great consternation amongst religious leaders - if there's no death, there can be no resurrection and therefore no reason for religion - and what will be the effect on pensions, the social services, hospitals? Funeral directors are reduced to arranging funerals for dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots. Life insurance policies become meaningless. Amid the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration: flags are hung out on balconies and people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity - eternal life. But will death's disappearance benefit the human race, or will this sudden abeyance backfire? How long can families cope with malingering elderly relatives who scratch at death's door while the portal remains firmly shut? Then, seven months later, death returns, heralded by purple envelopes informing the recipients that their time is up. Death herself is now writing personal notes giving one week's notice. However, when an envelope is unexpectedly returned to her, death begins to experience strange, almost human emotions.

It sounds slightly morbid, but also funny. I think I might pick it just to read about Death and her "strange, almost human emotions." It's kind of Terry Pratchett-ish, isn't it?


Melwyk said...

Oooh, can't wait! I love Saramago!

Andi said...

Jose Saramago is one of those authors whose books I collect but seldom actually read. I've had Blindness and All the Names on my TBR for years but I can never work up the nerve to dive in completely. Urrg!

darkorpheus said...

Melanie *sigh* always been meaning to read him. Maybe this book will be the book I start for Saramago. Maybe.

Andi You and me both, Andi. I have "Blindness" on my shelf for a few years. For some reasons (I was dating other books) Saramago and I never hooked up.

Ana S. said...

It does sound Terry Pratchett-ish. I'd like to read this one.

He was on the news on TV the other day. I just caught it passingly, but apparently he isn't doing very well, health-wise :( I hope he gets better soon.

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth Oh dear. But, I know it's a little brutal -- how old is Saramago? He's not young, is he?

Ana S. said...

He's 86. Until recently you'd think he was much younger, but a few months ago he had pneumonia and never completely recovered..he's in a wheelchair now. You are completely right, though. 86 is an impressive age, and, while sad, this is to be expected.