Sunday, January 15

Book Review Death With Interruptions

Title: Death With Interruptions

Author: José Saramago

Pages: 238

Summary: 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, however, there is initially celebration - flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home - families 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 fell in love?

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There’s a lot to take from this book, I enjoyed the narrative a lot, despite the changing voice and point-of-view throughout the story, and while the grammar issues were distracting, the book ended up being an enjoyable, engaging read.

The grammar (I’m awful at it, I admit), but this threw out the conventional rules of grammar out the window, ignoring them completely. The book was filled with long, run-on sentences, a lot of commas, and no quotations or indication of who’s speaking during the parts with dialogue. It was confusing at first, but eventually, I warmed up to the writing style, and it works for the book. I think the author was trying to create a lyrical prose for his narrative, and it did work, it’s beautifully written and told, but the author’s writing style does take some time to get used to, and I can see a lot of people being turned off by the style.

The story itself was interesting, and despite the theme, it wasn’t depressing like I thought it would be. It was philosophical at times, and it showed some interesting ethical choices humans make in a situation like this one, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Once death rolls in, the story takes a turn, and it had some interesting aspects, especially the focus on her,  daily ‘life,’ but I’m unsure how I feel about the ending. I’m not sure what it was, but something felt off about the ending, it didn’t seem fitting to me. I was left unsatisfied.

Other than the issues with grammar and the ending, it was an enjoyable read – well worth checking out.

Would I recommend it to read:  I would, while the grammar throughout the book, or lack there of, was frustrating and a bit distracting, it was a good book and I think a lot of readers would enjoy it.

What to read next: I’m not too sure about that one. I have read one of his other books, Blindness, I enjoyed it, but it was rather dark at times.


  1. I've often wondered what it's like for translators of his works because he seems to put a lot of the story into the sentence structure (which I've gathered only from leafing through them, noticing those sentences you've mentioned). Have you read others of his, are you planning to read more? (See, I can write run-on questions as well as sentences! :-))

  2. I read Blindness, it was good but it had the same issues as this one did. I did enjoy this one more than Blindness.