Book Review: As Intermitências da Morte - José Saramago
Author Jose Saramago
Reading Time: 3 days (February 2016)
I read this book in three sippings. For a Saramago's book I enjoy it.
Well, let us talk first of my experience of Saramago. I don't enjoy the man - he was a fervorous communist and politic critic - but that's not why I didn' like it. Everyone of us have different opinions in every subject and for authors they have the possibility to advocate their beliefs in books and transform their thoughts into fiction and we the readers read about it. Most times, their opinions are in the books (sometimes more or less camouflaged). The readers appreciate the fiction and can ignore the opinion of the author or if we are really interested we can read and try to understand the subtext of the author. But some authors have the capability of "Teaching" the right way because myself, as a reader who wanted to be entertaint by a fiction book, I am wrong. Yeah, my dumb person is wrong about my beliefs and only the author knows the True Story and True Way of Thinking and therefore I must change my way of seeing things - after all I am stupid and wrong.
Alaistair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod do this greatly. Only their Trotskyism, communist ways are correct and so they make a space opera series to teach me if people on earth turn on those ideologies everything would be awesome. And that puts me off... a LOT!
Saramago, and I am portuguese, do that to me. I only read two of this books (one was a short story) and I remember that enjoy the story but I don't like being lectured of my ways. You, as author, can expose your opinions and views when you create this world of fiction but not making like a lecture. That is very upsetting and unsettling.
In 1984 (one of my favourite books) we have a dictatorship goverment and as we read the book we understand that that book is a reminder or a warning that dictarorship are dangerous or something like that. The author don't try (at least at first glance) to teach us that the right way is democracy, communism, anarchaic, republic, meritocracy or some other form of goverment. So, I read the book, enjoying and learning the view of the author and thinking what is the right type of goverment. Brave New World, fahrenheit 451 are other good examples. They tell a story (if I only want to read a story) and I really want to think about the world I can think freely.
This authors I mention before don't do that. They preach me that the right way is the left way and everything else is just wrong and you are stupid because you follow them - yeah you are a lamb!
Oh, and don't get me start on Right or Left ideologies. I am right wing person (not a fascist, nazi or far-right or something like that - yeah I know your first thought was that I was something like that) and all those left-wing preachers upset me.
Well, after this rambling about politics lets us talk about this book.
I enjoy it! Yeah, I know... In this book he didn't try too much to teach us about left wing ideologies or some other crap he believes with all his might. In this book we are dealing with death (without the capital D).
This book is actualy two books... The first is the reaction/action of society if suddently death (not Death) stop working in a county. It would be good, am I right? No, you are wrong. So the first hundred and something pages are the actions/reactions of the goverment to this event, the gravedriggers, insurances companies, maphia (not to be confuse with mafia) and people in general.
After some months of not dying, death annouces herself/himself/itself to the world through a purple letter annoucing that people are going to start do die again. To facilitate each person would receive a purple letter saying that death was coming in one week.
The second part of the book deals with death try to understand why the letters going to him were being returned. Death (not with capital D) passes some time, invisible, with the musican and it's god and it was a very interesting story. The relation between the dog and musician - so peaceful, so serene, without need of words. We also learn that there are many deaths. Some for animals, insencts and other countries had their deaths. In the end, we are left with an open ending, as death now as a female meets the musician to deliver the letter personally but envolving instead.
What I didn't enjoy about the book - the way it was written. When two people talk it was a continuous phrase without any information who was talking. Basicaly we only knew it was someone else talking because that sentence ended with a "," and started with a capital letter... Something like this:
I don't enjoy Saramago, But you enjoy this one, Yeah it was a good book and I am going to give it 5 stars, But did you learn anything or did it make you think about things, Yes it did but I didn't felt he was preaching something, Care to elaborate, He made me think about the reason that Death exists and how we deal with it, Interesting, Indeeed and he made me think about some actions people do if there weren't any rules or some rule cease to exist, And what else, He made me think of Terry Prattchet, What, He made me think about his character Death and in particular two or three novels focus on Him and that what Saramago did was not new but other author in other way had done, So he is a forged something, No, he created his own story but made me think that each fiction can be related to other piece of fiction and think that nothing is created new and everyone is only re-creating or re-forging other ideas because I don't know if Saramago ever read a Prattchet book and if he did, he did it with his ideas and beliefs, So are you going to read any more books by Saramago, Mayphas.. I have one at home if I want to try again, but I tell you this, if you want you could see here in this book so many critics to people and beliefs, but I tell you something only for you my dearest follower... I was sad about this book... sad that this musician that lived a honest simple life, had to die because that's the way life works., because life is not fair and I thought about all those animals that depend on a single human and what would happen to them if the human died... that upset me. Life is not fair, But it's the only one we have and we have to make the best of it, True that my reader... That is the ultimate true.