Death With Interruptions (Harcourt, $24) is José Saramago’s “true yet untrue story of death and her vagaries.” It begins with the fantastic premise that the people of a small country stop dying. Good news? But the hiatus, which lasts seven months, wreaks havoc with life insurance policies, causes doubts among the faithful who need physical death to reach everlasting spiritual life, and leads to overcrowding in hospitals and nursing homes. As he examines the ramifications of life without death, the Portuguese Nobel laureate offers sharp social commentary and philosophical meditations on mortality, as well as introducing a death who, though cold, can learn to care for those she comes for.
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