Death at Intervals
The following day, no one died.
In an unnamed country on the first day of the new year, people stop dying. Death is on strike. Soon, the residents begin to suffer. For several months undertakers face bankruptcy, the church is forced to reinvent its doctrine, and local “maphia” (not the traditional mafia, mind you) smuggle those on the brink of death over the border where they can expire naturally.
Eventually, death (not Death with a capital letter) returns, but she has changed her policy somewhat – her victims are now warned of her approach via violet letters delivered a week before they are destined to die. But what can death do when a letter is unexpectedly returned?
Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s (1922-2010) Death at Intervals (As Intermitências da Morte, 2005), is funny, philosophical and very entertaining. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read!