Death interrupted by Jose Saramago, book review

Only for those who love Terry Pratchett….

Every now and then I read what the Nobel prize winners in literature write. This year, I did read this novel by 1998 winner.

The novel is quite interesting and very well written. If you like Terry Pratchett, then you will find it very good. The synopsis is that one day, Death decides to take a break and do not visit England. It means that no one in England dies that day, and for a while onwards.

At first, this situation brings a lot of joy – people do not die in car accidents, from diseases, etc. After a while, however, this situation brings a few challenges.

First, the challenges for the healthcare – there is not enough room in hospitals anymore, as the very sick patients are in the wards for ever.

Then, the economical – the funeral entrepreneurs are getting out of business.

Finally, the mafia comes in and starts smuggling people to neighboring countries, where they instantly die. For a small fee, naturally.

Now, in the middle of the book, the death returns, but changes the way which she works. Instead of using the scythe to take lives, she uses it to send letters. The letters, nicely put in a violet envelope, have the same effect – the recipient dies.

Again, this sounds like a great idea, but depends on the post office (of course) and the timing of sending the letters, as well as the timing for receiving the letters.

The book ends with Death coming down to earth dressed as a woman, as she fell for a cellist. She watched him perform, visit him at his home, keep his pet on her laps.

I’m not going to spoil the book for you, so here is where I stop.

If you like the style of Terry Pratchett, this book is for you!

Author: Miroslaw Staron

I’m professor in Software Engineering at IT faculty. I usually blog about interesting articles (for me) and my own reflections on the development of Software Engineering, AI, computer science and automotive software.