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Death with Interruptions

Narrated by: Paul Baymer
Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the question: What happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death? 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, on the other hand, 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 were to fall in love?

©2009 Jose Saramago (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

Saramago being Saramago, he turns what could be the stuff of late-night stoner debate into a lucid, playful and politically edgy novel of ideas.... Saramago adds two satisfying cliffhangers—how far can he go with the concept, and will death succumb to human love? The package is profound, resonant and—bonus—entertaining." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

It's actually two books...

The concept of this book alone makes it worth the read. It's a fascinating approach to the most universal part of living, starting with a look at how politicians, clerics, gangsters, medical professionals and capitalists react to a drastic change in the way we ... live? There are frustrating moments when I desperately wanted the author to elaborate on a perspective on interrupted death that he didn't consider, and times when the book looked through a lens I've never considered before.

This is the important part of my review. This book is two books. Other than the frustrating/artful lack of punctuation beyond commas, the first part and the second are so stylistically different and cover such different themes that it is mind boggling.

I have 2 recommendations:
1. Listen to the audiobook. You figure out who is saying what, when, and where and can follow the story much better. You should still read a few pages of text, just so you can admire wild and unruly the grammar (I kinda like it). It will also allow you to better appreciate how beautifully Paul Baymer navigates the jungle of sentences and squished together dialogue.

2. Read it as if it were two stories in the same universe. The first is like a narrator in a historical documentary, a high level picture of what's goin' on. The second is a love story, and one of the characters in that story just happens to be death. The transition happens at the introduction of the violet letters. Stop at the end of that chapter ("...it was the end of an era."/end of Chapter 8), and soak it up. Think about what you liked and hated about the the wide angle perspective and the choices of folks in this new state of being. THEN pick it up again (from "It may be that a very genteel upbringing..."/beginning of chapter 9) like you are reading a new story that features the same "death," a new perspective and intimacy with characters.

It was a great read either way, but I wish I had known to take a break in the middle, so I didn't spend the second half wondering where the first half went!

Oh, one more thing: you're gonna wanna talk about this book with people whether or not you enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting but slightly boring

fell asleep listening to this book a few times. there are very interesting concepts it's just not the most exciting book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Interesting concept, but boring and eventful

The title was more exciting then reading it. There were a few thought provoking moments, but they were quickly smothered in boredom.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Glenn
  • San Antonio
  • 08-01-17

Excellent

well written, fantastic story. written in a laconic Portuguese style. the kind of story that some will think a waste of time and others will adore

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not for me

I just didn't like it. It wasn't a book for me. It was very hard to keep up.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful