Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's brilliant new novel poses the questionwhat 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 celebrationflags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits homefamilies 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?
JOSE SARAMAGO is one of the most acclaimed writers in the world today. He is the author of numerous novels, including All the Names, Blindness, and The Cave. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today.
If this sounds campy, it is, but Saramago is always ten steps ahead of us, subverting cliches, interjecting ancient philosophical concerns into his gags and scattering grenades of bitterness among the laughs…This is a story that can't possibly work or affect us, but it does, deeply, sweetly. It's a novel to die for.