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The Double

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  17,994 ratings  ·  1,517 reviews
Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is a history teacher in a secondary school. He is divorced, involved in a rather one-sided relationship with a bank clerk, and he is depressed. To lift his depression, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film and is unimpressed. During the night, noises in his apartment wake him. He goes into the living room to find ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published October 4th 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2002)
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Eduardo A. Saramago has explained this earlier:

«As you know, when we speak, we don't use punctuation. We pause [to breath] and even, as I say in my books, the o…more
Saramago has explained this earlier:

«As you know, when we speak, we don't use punctuation. We pause [to breath] and even, as I say in my books, the only two punctuation marks are the full stop (or period, in American English) and the comma, are not punctuation marks, they are a pause, a brief pause and a long pause. In the end, as I often say, to speak is to compose music» - in Expresso, 2004.

«(..) I see myself as an oral narrator when I write and that the words by me written ought to be read as well as to be heard. Now, the oral narrator doesn't need punctuation, speaks as he was composing music and uses the same elements as a musician: sounds and pauses, highs and lows, some, brief or long, others.» - in Cadernos de Lanzarote – Diário II (1994)

I translated it as best as I could from the following link: https://ciberduvidas.iscte-iul.pt/art...(less)
Justin It depends on your tastes. The book is very different from the movie, so there's no reason you need to limit yourself to one or the other.…moreIt depends on your tastes. The book is very different from the movie, so there's no reason you need to limit yourself to one or the other.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  17,994 ratings  ·  1,517 reviews

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Vit Babenco
Aug 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The protagonist – a high school history teacher – watching some inane movie sees the actor who looks exactly like him and he becomes obsessed with the idea to find his double…
Tertuliano Máximo Afonso got up from the chair, knelt down in front of the television, his face as close to the screen as he could get it and still be able to see, It’s me, he said, and once more he felt the hairs on his body stand on end, what he was seeing wasn’t true, it couldn’t be, any sensible person who happened to b
Jim Fonseca
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Tertuliano Máximo Afonso watches a video recommended by a friend and discovers he has a double – a man who could be his identical twin, who looked and sounded exactly like Maximo did five years ago when the film was made. Like a private investigator, he sets out to find who the man is and meet with him. It’s a harder task than it seems because the man had only a walk-on role and is simply one name among a long list of extras in the film.


Finding his double shocks him so much that he doesn’t tell
The thought of having a doppelgänger freaks me out, if I had one, I would rather not know. Even somebody bearing a strong resemblance to one's self is weird enough, but an actual replica? with the same moles, the same scars, and the same voice. No thanks. I am me, and I want to keep it that way. If only History professor Tertuliano Máximo Afonso returned the video tape to the shop and forgot all about what he witnessed on screen. But he couldn't, a curiosity built up inside him. Just who is that ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quantum Physics of Identity

"Only a common sense with the imagination of a poet could have invented the wheel." Not a bad self-referential summary of Saramago's The Double.

This book is common sense and imagination applied to human identity and the result is a literary wheel turning round and round in the minds of two apparently identical individuals. Is one merely a copy of the other? Are their fates entangled like quantum particles? Do they become parts of the other simply by knowing of the oth
May 28, 2009 rated it it was ok

Incredibly hard to read! This was a self-inflicted punishment by an insipid reader trying to introduce himself to a compulsively revolting writer!

Saramago, who is, like his name suggests, a "mago", or wizard, pretty much singlehandly diminishes the joy that reading brings, making it all one self-assured, self-serving CHORE.

Man, I hated this book. The story could be a novella, would be an amazing and silly and cool one at that, but in novel form, well... all Saramago does is throw
Tertuliano Máximo Afonso discovers that there is another one identical to himself. In appearance, invoice, in everything that can notice. From this fact begins his torment.
Distressed by this discovery, Tertuliano Máximo Afonso transforms his entire routine into a detailed and secret search for his double.
What would be a fascinating fact for many people, Tertuliano Máximo Afonso feels like stifling oppression.
A novel that follows in a suspenseful tone and subtle irony and humour characterizes Jos
Saramago was a unique literary magician, and this is one of his most hauntingly memorable books. This one is a real slow burner, which demands great patience of its reader, but like so many of Saramago's books it is full of dry humour.

The first part of the book might even be described as dull, as the long and apparently rambling sentences, conversations without quotes, and occasional asides from his omniscient narrator set up a picture of an unsympathetic and drab antihero, a depressed history
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Saramago fans
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 canno ...more
Mark André (semi hiatus)
“Our impression is of a writer, like Faulkner, so confident of his resources and ultimate destination that he can bring any impossibility to life by hurling words at it.” —John Updike, The New Yorker (from the back cover of a Harvest/Harourt 2005 English translation)
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-deserved-it
If you’re one of those readers who give low ratings to books only because you didn’t like the characters’ personality traits and/or behaviour then don’t even get close to this one.

If your favourite books can be found on sale at the supermarket around the corner be warned, this one is definitely not for you.

If turning the pages quickly is more important to you than to let yourself be carried away by good writing and philosophical thought provoking ideas to a satisfying ending, I definitely woul
Ahmad Sharabiani
O Homem Duplicado = The Double, José Saramago
The Double (Portuguese: O Homem Duplicado) is a 2002 novel by Portuguese author José Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In Portuguese, the title is literally "The Duplicated Man." It was translated into English and published as The Double in 2004. Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a divorced high school history teacher who spends his nights reading about Mesopotamian civilizations. One day Tertuliano rents a movie recommended by a colleague an
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Well, I had planned on starting this review with some choice zingers about Saramago shameless burgling the plot of any or every Murakami novel, wherein some workaday shlub, with a boring job and a boring life and crushingly alone in the world, has a chance-or-not-chance run-in with some inexplicable unnatural or supernatural phenomenon which comes to consume him, only with the Portuguese author applying his trademark run-on sentences and incredibly lengthy paragraphs and narratological excursion ...more
MJ Nicholls
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A methodical schoolteach spots similar in a straight-to-video video, then plunges into a mental conundrum throbbier than most mental conundra. As others noted, the Dostoevskii parallels are obvious, though Saramago’s rambling self-aware sentences and Shandyean epigraph speaks of a comic mischief that keeps the novel in the romping, care-free, septuagenarian riff mode. Inessential funtime.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I did not really enjoy Saramago's The Double. To begin with, it's a sloppy handling of a theme which has been done over-and-over, and better done at that: Dickin's The Tale of Two Cities, Poe's "William Wilson," Nabokov's Despair and Dostoyevsky's The Double were all better handlings of the doppelgänger theme than this, I felt. This felt kind of like a more sinister "The Parent Trap" or dropped episode of The Twilight Zone (dropped for being too long maybe). It wasn't bad, I won't say that. Ever ...more
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who're fond of magical realism
I figured out the inevitable ending of this book about halfway through it, but getting to the end was certainly not tedious . The language (lyrically translated by Margaret Costa) is full of unusual but vivid imagery ("...she had noticed a kind of embarassed catch in his voice, a disharmony that occasionally distorted his delivery, like the characteristic vibrato produced by a cracked water jar when struck with the knuckles"), and the novel is filled with sophisticated phrases that fit oddly wel ...more
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Damn! I love open endings. I've only read one more Saramago's and I can say he can achieve both the long and deep thoughts as much as the unbridled suspense. The way he destroys the peaceful normality of our two main characters is almost wicked. And still, who wouldn't lose the mind when knowing we are not unique, that our existence might be a mistake? The absence of punctuation marks can be bothering at first but once you get into the story, that fades away and you'd be left alone with a premi ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-list
"The man who has just come into the shop to rent a video bears on his identity card a most unusual name, a name with a classical flavor that time has staled, neither more nor less than Tertuliano Maximo Afonso. The Maximo and the Afonso, which are in more common usage, he can just about tolerate, depending, of course, on the mood he's in, but the Tertuliano weighs on him like a gravestone and has done, ever since he first realized that the wretched name lent itself to being spoken in an ironic, ...more
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I haven't picked a Saramago book in such a long time because I was afraid of not liking it but honestly, I should have known that Saramago never disappoints me.

no one does slow and tension like him. his books aren't for everyone and this title isn't an exception. still, this story was amazing and the slow build up totally made up for one of the most amazing endings ever. those last two pages fucked me up!! I need a moment

full review soon
Jigar Brahmbhatt
I want to start by saying that I wanted to enjoy this novel, I really did. Look at the cover design! How can one not be thrilled by a premise like this? An ordinary guy (a history professor in our case) goes about his mundane life day in day out without so much as a single moment of excitement... and bam! He sees his double in a movie.

But here is what is off-putting. This is my first Saramago novel, and I may be blinded by my quirky tastes in judging the Nobel laureate. But there is a way of sh
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-non-core
My 2nd book by the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature awardee, Jose de Sousa Saramago. I am still impressed.

With Blindness as the first, I can now say that Mr. Saramago has a distinctive writing style: he uses long sentences, at times more than a page long. He also uses periods sparingly, choosing instead a loose flow of clauses joined by commas. Many of his paragraphs extend for pages without pausing for dialog, which Mr. Saramago chooses not to delimit by quotation marks; when the speaker changes
Sep 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. A clever, unique, well written novel about identity and individuality. Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is in his late 30s, is divorced, a depressed history teacher who has had a girlfriend for the last six months. Whilst watching a video, he sees a man who looks exactly like him. He decides to find out more about his double. There are a number of plot twists, a number of thought provoking lines and a hint of humour.

Here are some quotes from the book:
‘..there are times when it is best to be
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It will take me some time to digest this book. I have just closed it. I missed Saramagos writing style, which is not everybody's thing (just read the 1-2 star reviews). His style sucks you in, it is hard to stop reading.
This story belongs to those "dystopy" stories Saramago used to write, those "What if..."s. We are not offered a logical scientific explanation why there are two persons 100% alike, but this wasn't the scope of the story. I think it was all about how do you deal with this type of
Beatrice Santos
I'm awful at doing reviews and I feel like I never say anything anyone hasn't already said in their reviews but I'm doing this one because I need to put my astonishment in words once I have no other way of dealing with it.

First of all, this is Saramago's first book that really got my attention plot-wise. I had also liked "All the Names" but this one is by far my favorite of everything I've read from the author. The plot is genius and the end leaves you literally screaming for more.
This is one of
Oct 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I quite like Jose Saramago's ideas and story lines, but I find some of his novels very difficult to get through. This being one of them. The first 150-200 pages were hard work, the author tends to overcontemplate, side track his thoughts and expand on the simpliest of things. The last 100 pages or so were the payoff... the story was weaved together much tighter, more focused, and flowed a bit quicker. (hense the 3 stars)

For anyone new to Saramago, I would recommend breaking him into chewable chu
Mar 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: portugese
It's very good. It should be. He stole the plot, the characters and the title from Dostoevsky. ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tej by: Jasmeet
A story of a school history teacher, whose archaic name, Tertuliano Máximo Afonso, is a constant prick and an incessant irritant to him, only dealt with timid avoidance and shameful efforts at courage. This passage paints him well ;

"Tertuliano Máximo Afonso does not belong to that extraordinary group of people who can smile even when alone, his nature inclines him more to melancholy, to reverie, to an exaggerated awareness of the transience of life, to an incurable perplexity when faced by the g
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wisdom lurks in this novel. In fact Common Sense is actually a minor character (a bit huffy too about his small role) saying things like,

“What will be, will be, Oh i know that’s philosophy, it’s what people call predestination, fatalism, fate, but what it really means is that, as usual, you’ll do whatever you choose to do”

So, yes Common Sense and our protagonist, (saddled with the name Tertuliano)are often at odds, which endears him to us. Samarago, as beautifully translated by Margaret Jill Cos
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if you found out that you have an identical duplicate living in the same city? Tertuliano Maximo Afonso cannot help himself... he becomes obsessed with finding this other person and meeting him. Was it a good idea? Well, the common sense (that has conversations with Maximo throughout the book) has substantiated doubts...It's just that humans are not always prone to listening to common sense.

I have to admit that I didn't connect with the book straight away. It took me a while t
Deepthi Terenz
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: must-read, classics
Saramago tells the story of the History professor Tertuliano Máximo Afonso who one day, while viewing a banal video a colleague has recommended, discovers that one of the minor actors in it is his identical. Tertuliano becomes obsessed with the idea of meeting the person he takes to be his double and, after viewing dozens of other films, manages to discover the actor's name, Antonio Claro, and track him down. This book was a little difficult to read as Saramago proved himself to be the master of ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply brilliant! Even better the second time around.
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Reading the World: BOTM June The Double 9 10 Jul 21, 2021 01:35PM  
Reading 1001: The Double 2 5 Jul 21, 2021 01:07PM  
Club de Lectura: Expectativas 5 6 Jan 11, 2021 11:32AM  
Goodreads Italia: GdL Narrativa Maggio 2020 - L'uomo duplicato di José Saramago - commenti e discussione 22 136 Jun 11, 2020 03:32AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover to this book 4 15 Jul 22, 2018 01:33PM  
The Movie - Ebemy 3 62 Dec 19, 2014 07:41AM  

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José Saramago is one of the most important international writers of the last hundred years. Born in Portugal in 1922, he was in his sixties when he came to prominence as a writer with the publication of Baltasar and Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Saramago died in June 2010.

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