Saramago's latest work in English is a danse macabre with the ancient conundrum of the curse of deathlessness. As in his great novel Blindness, Saramago narrates a preternatural epidemic in mythic wide-angle, dream up a world where people stop dying and begin, inevitably, to rue the consequences. As this world becomes more and more decentered, the lens narrows around the unlikely, intimate interplay between a lonely cellist and the irresistable, scythe wielding lady herself. Enchantingly, this focus on dying and eath yeilds the warmest novel. --Recommended by Matthew, City Lights Books
Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the question -- what happens when the grim reaper decides there will be no more death?
On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration—flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home—families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.
Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small d,
became human and were to fall in love?