The Double

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The Double

by Jose Saramago

October 15, 2004 | Hardcover

The Double is rated 4 out of 5 by 9.
Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a history teacher in a secondary school. He is divorced, involved in a rather one-sided relationship with a bank clerk, and he is depressed. To lift his depression, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film and is unimpressed. During the night, noises in his apartment wake him. He goes into the living room to find that the VCR is replaying the video, and as he watches in astonishment he sees a man who looks exactly like him-or, more specifically, exactly like the man he was five years before, mustachioed and fuller in the face. He sleeps badly.

Against his own better judgment, Tertuliano decides to pursue his double. As he establishes the man's identity, what begins as a whimsical story becomes a dark meditation on identity and, perhaps, on the crass assumption behind cloning-that we are merely our outward appearance rather than the sum of our experiences.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 8.38 × 5.84 × 1.08 in

Published: October 15, 2004

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151010404

ISBN - 13: 9780151010400

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hard to get through The story is interesting only in that it is based on real events. Other than that, its a tough read. Not too exciting.
Date published: 2010-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book King Joao III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon and his trainer, Subhro. The story is about the journey from Lisbon to Vienna that was witnessed and remarked upon by scholars, historians, and ordinary people. Once the elephant is delivered, by ship, Archduke Maximilian changes the identity of the trainer (now named Fritz) and the elephant (now named Suleiman), as they are no longer live in India. Fritz falls out of favor with the archduke by increasing his income through a money making scam of selling elephant hair to grow human hair,which the archduke shuts down immediately. I love the descriptions used throughout such as ‘the scenery changing from discreet, gentle to one so violent that the mountains look like they have gone through apocalyptic fractures’. The journey through the Isarco Pass is dangerous with avalanches falling all around the caravan. Even Suleiman is scared. Once the caravan arrives in Vienna, a parade is held to show off the elephant. Once again Suleiman performs a miracle. The people love him almost as much as they love the archduke. Point of view was third person.
Date published: 2010-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Master Saramago proves once again why he is the Master. This particular offering revolves around a man named Tertuliano Maximo Aphonso and his discovery of another man who is his double and his search to meet this man. The story is told in true Saramago style, with character's dialogue separated only by commas, for example. It is easy to get attached to the main character and the people in his life, including Common Sense. The story does include an interesting twist at the end. The Double is a great read, one ofmy favorites from this fantastic author.
Date published: 2009-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The same great Saramago One more masterpiece from Saramago; once you discover his style, you just fall in love with it and find simple phrasing a bit boring. The subject in "The Double" is not new in world's literature but Saramago just knows to make it original in his own way.
Date published: 2008-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! Don't be discouraged by first 50 pages! Since I read Blindness by Jose Saramago, I have been on the lookout for more of his works. Blindness is one of my favourite books and one that I think everyone should read at some point in their life. These works are translated from Portuguese and Saramago has a Nobel prize for his literary works. Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is a history teacher with depression. In hopes of making him feel better, his colleague recommends a comedic movie. Afonso rents this movie, doesn't think too highly of it, and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night, he wakes up with an odd feeling. The movie is playing on his tv and someone that looks exactly like him is acting as the hotel receptionist in the movie. These two don't just look like each other - they are identical. Even their voice is exactly the same. Afonso sets to find out who this man is. When he finally tracks him down, the two engage in a tale of bitterness, revenge, happiness, and finding out who they really are. True to Saramago style, the novel is written with very few paragraphs and periods. All conversations are separated only by a comma. It takes a while to get into this and is difficult to read at first, but don't let this stop you from finishing any of Saramago's works! While I felt that part of the books had been dragged out a bit - for example, there were too many conversations with "common sense" - all that was completely forgiven by the incredible ending! One doesn't really expect twists except in mystery novels, so I was completely shocked by this one! Wow! One of the best-ended books I've ever read!
Date published: 2008-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Not as good as Blindness (from my opinion, hence the 4 stars), but definitely an original piece of work. It shows how Democracies can become the most dangerous dictatorships, a puzzling idea taking in account the events that surround us in the present day. An amazing satire which shows the general ineffectiveness of world governments and the dormant power of the people. It shows how real revolutions can still occur in the 21st century. Saramago has created yet another masterpiece.
Date published: 2006-04-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Awful.... highly disappointing Disappointing to say the least. I read (ie. suffered) through over 100 pages of this book and finally could take no more. I was extremely disappointed because I love Jose Saramago's work and have read 4 of his previous novels. I was expecting another great novel. The premise is very interesting in that the main character is watching a video and see's an actor who looks, speaks and acts like him. However the book is filled with the author talking to the reader about points which do nothing but drag on the story, which after 100 pages could have been summed up in about 10-15 pages. HIGHLY disappointing! Read Blindness instead.
Date published: 2005-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant The Stone Raft is good enough to restore ones faith in the power of literature. Jose Saramago seems to have remembered that the basis of any great novel is the story. And this is a great story. One day, the Iberian Peninsula shears off from the European continent and begins to drift across the Atlantic Ocean. A diverse group of Portugese and Spaniards wander across the "island" searching for answers as to why this has occured. What they find are the answers to many important and difficult questions. Fortunately, the "point" of the story never gets in the way of what is a great adventure. Touching, gripping, eye opening and hugely entertaining, this is one of the best novels I have read in years.
Date published: 2000-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great bedtime story I loved this book. In fact, as I waited for my husband, I began reading this book in a Chapters store and couldn't put it down. I bought it even though I finished reading it. It will make a great bedtime story when I have children to read it to...
Date published: 2000-02-08

– More About This Product –

The Double

The Double

by Jose Saramago

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 8.38 × 5.84 × 1.08 in

Published: October 15, 2004

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151010404

ISBN - 13: 9780151010400

About the Book

Tertuliano Afonso is depressed. After a colleague suggests he rent a certain video, Tertuliano is astonished to see a man who looks exactly like him--or, more specifically, like he did five years before. Against his own better judgment, Tertuliano pursues his double.

Read from the Book

THE MAN WHO HAS JUST COME INTO THE SHOP TO RENT A video bears on his identity card a most unusual name, a name with a classical flavor that time has staled, neither more nor less than Tertuliano Máximo Afonso. The Máximo and the Afonso, which are in more common usage, he can just about tolerate, depending, of course, on the mood he's in, but the Tertuliano weighs on him like a gravestone and has done ever since he first realized that the wretched name lent itself to being spoken in an ironic, potentially offensive tone. He is a history teacher at a secondary school, and a colleague had suggested the video to him with the warning, It's not exactly a masterpiece of cinema, but it might keep you amused for an hour and a half. Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is greatly in need of stimuli to distract him, he lives alone and gets bored, or, to speak with the clinical exactitude that the present day requires, he has succumbed to the temporary weakness of spirit ordinarily known as depression. To get a clear idea of his situation, suffice it to say that he was married but can no longer remember what led him into matrimony, that he is divorced and cannot now bring himself to ponder the reasons for the separation. On the other hand, while the ill-fated union produced no children who are now demanding to be handed, gratis, the world on a silver platter, he has, for some time, viewed sweet History, the serious, educational subject which he had felt called upon to teach and which could have been
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From the Publisher

Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a history teacher in a secondary school. He is divorced, involved in a rather one-sided relationship with a bank clerk, and he is depressed. To lift his depression, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film and is unimpressed. During the night, noises in his apartment wake him. He goes into the living room to find that the VCR is replaying the video, and as he watches in astonishment he sees a man who looks exactly like him-or, more specifically, exactly like the man he was five years before, mustachioed and fuller in the face. He sleeps badly.

Against his own better judgment, Tertuliano decides to pursue his double. As he establishes the man's identity, what begins as a whimsical story becomes a dark meditation on identity and, perhaps, on the crass assumption behind cloning-that we are merely our outward appearance rather than the sum of our experiences.

About the Author

JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922–2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today.

Editorial Reviews

"What satisfying pleasure it is to be told this cautionary tale by a teller at the peak of his wisdom and sly wit."