The Double by José Saramago (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

The Double, by José Saramago, is very entertaining reading.  It’s the story of a most ordinary man, a teacher of history, who one night, watching a video, sees himself as he was five years ago on the screen.  He becomes consumed by anxiety about this double, and his quest to deal with the problem of who owns his identity is, in the hands of this master storyteller, a remarkable story.
Saramago (1922-2010) was a Portuguese author: he wrote novels, plays and journalism and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.  Wikipedia tells me that he came to the attention of Portuguese censors late in his life, and moved to Spain to avoid interference on religious grounds.  (Apparently he died at Las Palmas, which I visited as a small child en route to Africa.  I have vivid memories of the contrast between its warmth,  colour and vivacity and the drabness of postwar London.)  In Portugal all seemed to be forgiven when Saramago won the Nobel, though the conservative PM who’d supported the religious censorship prudently avoided the mourning when Saramago died. 

I read and blogged this book on September 13th 2010.  To read the rest of my review, please visit

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