#51 Death with Interruptions – José Saramago


Death with Interruptions


José Saramago


Novel, Fiction, Nobel Prize







It is an exquisitely satirical book.

Title (Original)

As Intermitências da Morte

Year of Publication




Short Description & Notes

In Death with Interruptions, death decides to relinquish its activity. This resignation of death in fulfilling its role causes a stir in the nation and a contagious joy. With an aging population, the government does not know how to deal with what happened. People, now with immortal existence, do not know what to do and even their faith is deeply shaken.

Halfway through the book, the author changes the perspective of the events and we get to know death itself, its thoughts and its actions. Then, the book goes beyond the comic noise caused by the unrest of the population to the soft melody of death’s behavior.

“Nobel Prize-winner José 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? ” – Goodreads: Death with Interruptions

Remarkable Quotes

“The following day, no one died.”

“Whether we like it or not, the one justification for the existence of all religions is death, they need death as much as we need bread to eat.”

“One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do.”

“Have you ever wondered if death is the same for all living beings, be they animals, human beings included, or plants, from the grass you walk on to the hundred-meter-tall sequoiadendron giganteum, will the death that kills a man who knows he’s going to die be the same as that of a horse who never will.”

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