Red Wheelbarrow Book Reviews
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The Doubleby José Saramago
is the last Saramago to be translated in English and I am
a fan so that my report is going to be positive. Like all
his fiction, the suspense is almost unbearable. The theme
is identity and the resolution leaves you with
as many questions as you can possibly bear.
The hero of the novel is a slightly depressed history teacher
from irresolution and much personal confusion. He has not
been able to ask
his mistress to come and live with him, too many doubts,
hesitations, not enough drive. He is unsure of most things,
mostly he is
unsure of himself, driven and tortured by self-doubt. One
night a kind
colleague offers him a movie to take his mind off his troubles
and to cheer
him up. This is when the real misery begins for him: on the
screen, he sees
a minor star of the film who turns out to be his double.
He becomes entirely obsessed with questions of his own identity.
possible to have another self ? Surely it is impossible to
have two totally
identical men walk around in the same city, at the same time
with the same
appearance, undistinguishable one from another.
In all Saramago¹s books the real and the unreal mix.
What could have
happened and what could not have happened walk a fine line
The plot is complex and riveting. There is a suffocating
tension which kept
me anxious and afraid while at the same time there is plenty
of humor to
allow for fun and laughter.
The nature of love is the theme that carries the plot forward
condemns the hero. Tertuliano, for that is his name, is not
capable of full
and generous love and so condemns himself. The new Ishiguro
thinks long similar lines, but treats his theme quite
differently. It is an interesting experiment to read and reflect
modern man with a foretaste of the future after considering