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Book Reviews, Analysis & Possible Spoilers

Fan of Sci Fi, Literature, History, Business/Economics, Philosophy and writing. My readings keep migrating away from the overview and into the technical.

Trying to write like Saramago to appreciate him more

The Double - José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa

A journey into a Saramago novel is a unique experience, In what way, might I ask, Well for one he eschews the modern, and ancient, conventions of separating out dialogue into new paragraphs, That could be a bit confusing, There is more, he also eschews the use of quotation marks, which can make it hard to know who is speaking at any given time, Eschews isn’t a word used in everyday conversations, is it, Neither is a lot of the language that Saramago uses, But he didn’t write in English, No, he wrote in Portuguese and a professional translator made it available for English speakers, So Saramago might not have used words like eschew then, We can’t imagine that a translator would willingly change the character and feel of a manuscript, But they could, It is possible, but they might be a fan of the author and want to honor the work, True, but they could also just be doing it for the money and want to finish early and do something else, it is said that the grass is often greener, But if this translator, who is looking longingly towards the other side, doesn’t do a good job, they won’t receive future commissions, which would make the grass on the other side brown, Yes, I suppose so, I retract my earlier questioning of the translator’s motives, please continue with your review, Sure, and I don’t mind these interruptions, I don’t want to be a nuisance, You aren’t, questions should always be asked, how else do we learn, As long as I am not bothering you, Not to worry, Saramago also, and I will refrain from using the word eschews here for your benefit, Thank you, Forgoes a lot of punctuation that the vast majority of other authors would be mortified to leave out, he allows his sentences to go on for a country mile, so to speak, So he is a stylist, what about his plots, I, personally, like his plots, let’s take The Double as our guinea pig, Odd choice of words again, are we going to dissect the plot,  Saramago looks at the world differently from you and I and his choice of language, that the translator brings to us, reflects that, and yes, we will dive into the plot, but just a little as I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who has made it this far into my review and would like to read this novel,  but the basic premise of the book is that a seemingly quiet life is disrupted when our innocuous protagonist, or hero if that is the way you prefer to look at literature, finds a duplicate of himself, which is quite shocking, I can imagine, I would be quite shocked myself, And sets out to find out who he is, and of course the plot develops further, more drama ensues, new revelations occur, and all else that is expected of a good plot occurs, with the big climax at the end, and all happens in really long sentences, It sounds like he can be hard to read, I used to think that, But now you don’t, No, once I got used to his style, I find it quite natural, really, yes, there is a beauty in his flow that I really enjoy, it allows Saramago to go around, over and through all the aspects of his novel, To what end, I don’t know if there has to be an end, not as in the final stage of life, but rather as in a purpose, I understand the difference, please continue, It gives the author a chance to look at everything from all standpoints, which provides a lot of perspective, which I enjoy, So do I, nice review, Thanks, but I think you might be slightly biased.


Originally posted on Goodreads