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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Double (2002) by Jose Saramago


Book Review
The Double (2002)
by Jose Saramago

  Jose Saramago is not a good choice for an Ebook read.  His sentences spin and sprawl, a modern version of a Borgesian language labyrinth, meaning that one Ebook page might not even contain a full sentence.  It's not the plot that is complicated, a fairly standard "man discovers he has an doppelganger in the world and becomes obsessed" riff that is weighed down by the layers of self reflection that dog haunt Tertuliano Maximo Alonso, the history teacher and protagonist.   I find a common reaction reading Saramago is that I want the characters to do something, anything, besides reflect.

   Like, the The History of the Siege of Lisbon, which turns on a momentary decision by a translator to insert a "not" into a single sentence, The Double turns around a single moment where Alonso sees his double as an extra in an rented video cassette.  His obsession is understable but Saramago's obfuscation of every possible action or conversation left me unmoved.  The Double was written after his Nobel Prize in Literature, so he was writing after having his greatness confirmed and to me, The Double read like an author who has no more points to make.

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