Alvin Rc's Reviews > Death at Intervals

Death at Intervals by José Saramago
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Aug 23, 12

Read in May, 2009 — I own a copy

One day, without warning, people stop dying. This is the premise of this absurd and funny, yet elegant fable, a satire if I may. The series of events which are the consequences of this what-if situation are written in a way so believable: the church becomes irrelevant for “how can there be resurrection without death”; the funerary industry has been reduced to burying pets; life insurance suddenly has no meaning that insurance union decides that life assurance policies will have an 80-year term; the rise of mafia (spelled “maphia” in the book) whose business is related to transporting people in suspended death to the boarder where they can die; and so on. When natural order of things has been restored after seven months, i.e., when people start to die again, death, who is a woman, who, according to handwriting analysts, has the handwriting of a serial killer, starts to mail notice of death in violet paper. Her dilemma starts when one of such notices is “returned to sender.” This will lead the book to a funny and humane ending – a death that sleeps is no death at all.

I really laughed at the ending.
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