Translated from the Portugese by Margaret Jull Costa
Blindness is one of my favourite books and so I have been keeping an eye out for Saramago’s other books ever since I finished reading it. Unfortunately I haven’t been very successful – they never seem to turn up! Then, last week I finally spotted one in the library.
The Double is the story of a history teacher who sits down to watch a rented video one evening and is shocked to discover that one of the actors is identical to him in every physical detail. He tracks down his look-alike and confirms that they are exact copies of each other – so alike that even their wives cannot tell them apart.
As with Blindness, Saramago’s writing style takes a bit of time to get used to. There are very few paragraphs and the words just seem to flow together at times, each page just packed with a sea of words:
It doesn’t take long to adapt to his style though, and I quickly became caught up in this imaginative plot. It doesn’t have the pace or fearful adrenaline rush I experienced with Blindness, but it is just as thought-provoking. If it were possible, would you want to swap lives with someone? Would you feel threatened by someone who was identical to you in every way? What would you do to protect your identity?
I loved the ending – it was cleverly written and left me with lots to think about.
The Double isn’t in the same league as Blindness, but it is a very good book.
Is Blindness one of your favourite books?
Have you read any of Saramago’s other books?