Jason Weiss


    Portuguese novelist José Saramago specializes in bold moves. In The Stone Raft (1986), the grand fabulist wrenched the Iberian Peninsula from its moorings; in Blindness (1995), he rendered an entire population sightless. A spry demiurge, indeed. Now well past eighty, with his Death with Interruptions—rendered in a pitch-perfect translation by Margaret Jull Costa—he challenges mortality itself while playfully subverting the timeworn theme of eternal life.

    On the first day of the New Year, in an unnamed land, death takes a holiday. Initially, this calls for celebration. Before long, however,

  • Autonauts of the Cosmoroute: A Timeless Voyage from Paris to Marseille

    In May 1982, the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar and his third wife, Carol Dunlop, embarked on a curious expedition. With their trusty VW camper van, dubbed Fafner after Wagner’s dragon, they set out to drive from Paris to Marseille, intending to discover the other thruway, the parallel path hidden in plain sight, along the autoroute. The better to gain access to that imagined place, the couple established some rules: They would not once leave the highway; they would explore each rest stop, at a rate of two a day; they would take detailed notes on their findings; and, like Marco Polo, they