Brenda's Reviews > The Double

The Double by José Saramago
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Oct 07, 07

Recommended for: Saramago fans
Read in October, 2007

I should preface this review with a disclaimer that I both love Jose Saramago and magical realism. Adore both, actually. Do not judge my nerdiness. I will loudly and proudly shout to the line behind me at the book store that I cannot wait to read about a magical mountain range. And when the manager has to come over and escort me to the door with my purchases, I'll shout even louder about how much I admire the tale of an old village woman who lived to be 250. And when the manager tells me I cannot come back, well then I'll probably just go to my car, because what a jerk.

Like all of Saramago's books, this one starts with a puzzling anomaly in the normal, regimented, and dull life of an unassuming nobody living in a large, identity-robbing city. Then the next two-thirds of the book provide extremely detailed subtleties into the nature and personality of the protagonist and his environment. This section is so beautifully written, but it almost seems like he loses the story. Until bango! The last, gripping 75 pages or so where the entire plot erupts into action sequences and discoveries. What is so brilliant about Saramago is he does not spell anything out directly. You need to really absorb the first sections of the book to figure out the full meaning and unravel the plot.

In this book, not only was the ending fast paced, it was also murderous and malicious and filled with grief and sex. More explicit than I anticipated and keeping me up late at night with my lamp burning. Loved it. And the translator must be a genius with words because translating a book where you have to dig up "persipacity" is cuckoo bananas. I highly recommend "The Double" if you like Saramago. If you generally don't care for his stuff, then no way will you like this one. At least that's my prediction because it's 100% his style the whole way through.
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Becky Great review! I just finished this as my first Saramango - there will be many others I think. I'm not usually a fan of magical realism, but this was just brilliant.


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