"On the first day of the New Year, no one dies. his understandably causes great consternation amongst religious leaders if there s no death, there can be no resurrection and therefore no reason for religion and what will be the effect on pensions, the social services, hospitals? Funeral directors are reduced to arranging funerals for dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots. Life insurance policies become meaningless. Amid the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration- flags are hung out on balconies and people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity eternal life. But will death s disappearance benefit the human race, or will this sudden abeyance backfire? How long can families cope with malingering elderly relatives who scratch at death s door while the portal remains firmly shut? Then, seven months later, death returns, heralded by purple envelopes informing the recipients that their time is up. Death herself is now writing personal notes giving one week's notice. However, when an envelope is unexpectedly returned to her, death begins to experience strange, almost human emotions. In his new novel Jose Saramago again turns the
"In the craft of the sentence, Jose Saramago is one of the great originals... no one writes quite like Saramago, so solicitous and yet so magnificently free. He works as though cradling a thing of magic" * Guardian * "Saramago has a light, graceful, ironic touch... the paraphernalia of magical realism" -- John Banville "The author's eccentric voice is as engaging as ever... a fitting cap to a body of work as playful as it is wise" * Financial Times * "With characteristic dry wit he proceeds to debunk the rosy romance of eternal life" * The Times * "A compelling work by a fine writer ... the unique Saramagoan style ... gives the impression of a thought experiment to which the writer is merely a catalyst. That impression is a carefully crafted one: true art conceals its art, wrote Ovid" * New Statesman *
Jose 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.