Friday, March 21, 2008

The Double by Jose Saramago

The Double by Jose Saramago

Since I read Blindness by Jose Saramago, I have been on the lookout for more of his works. Blindness is one of my favourite books and one that I think everyone should read at some point in their life. These works are translated from Portuguese and Saramago has a Nobel prize for his literary works.

Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is a history teacher with depression. In hopes of making him feel better, his colleague recommends a comedic movie. Afonso rents this movie, doesn't think too highly of it, and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night, he wakes up with an odd feeling. The movie is playing on his tv and someone that looks exactly like him is acting as the hotel receptionist in the movie. These two don't just look like each other - they are identical. Even their voice is exactly the same. Afonso sets to find out who this man is. When he finally tracks him down, the two engage in a tale of bitterness, revenge, happiness, and finding out who they really are.

True to Saramago style, the novel is written with very few paragraphs and periods. All conversations are separated only by a comma. It takes a while to get into this and is difficult to read at first, but don't let this stop you from finishing any of Saramago's works!

While I felt that part of the books had been dragged out a bit - for example, there were too many conversations with "common sense" - all that was completely forgiven by the incredible ending! One doesn't really expect twists except in mystery novels, so I was completely shocked by this one! Wow! One of the best-ended books I've ever read!

First Line: "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."



1 comment:

Jeane said...

I don't know if I could read a book with so few punctuation marks, it sounds very odd and tedious to the eyes. But the premise is interesting, so maybe I'd give it a go.