Home > Bibliophilia > The Double – José Saramago

The Double – José Saramago

the double

Just finished reading The Double by José Saramago. It was my introduction to this Nobel Prize winning author.

The story revolves around Tertuliano Maximo Afonso, a reclusive history teacher suddenly confronted by his double. Afonso encounters his duplicate in a video recommended by his colleague. He chases him down despite a sinister foreboding about the consequences. Tragic events unfold, impelled by fate, once they meet.

It is said that every person has a double somewhere in the world. But we rarely ever come face to face with them in real life. In the story, destiny has located Afonso’s doppelgänger in the very same city. Saramago asserts the we can never tolerate the existence of a double once we realize their existence.

The narrative style is smooth although a single line can run into a whole paragraph punctuated by commas. Conversations frequently go back and forth spanning pages, the characters and speech discernible only by the uppercase and context. Occasionally the author appears in the guise of a narrator and inserts curious expositive passages bordering on the frivolous.

Saramago managed to capture my imagination. His facility for storytelling is remarkable. To me the plot is only marginally interesting. The anecdotes, the perspicacious insights, the style of narrative, the subtle humour and the almost poetic usage of words are what really endeared me to José Saramago. I do not have most of his works. I’m itching to lay my hands on “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” next.

Click here for an interesting review of the book.

Categories: Bibliophilia
  1. February 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I have just finished reading and posting on this book: http://silverseason.wordpress.com/. My reaction was a big more negative than yours, feeling that Saramago egotistically imposes unnecessary burdens on the reader..

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