Another great novel by Saramago, although I found it tougher to immerse myself in compared to two previous novels of his. Saramago is a philosophical writer, so plot plays a role, but really in terms of providing a vehicle for Saramago's ideas. His political leanings are used in the book, but the focus is more on relationships and self awareness. The Doctor at the center of the novel continues a friendship with a friend who has died and begins a romantic relationship with a hotel chambermaid. Escaping his grasp is another woman for whom he is too old, yet their love is clear. Grasping for what you cannot have, taking what you can get, and looking at life from the view of death -- all situations which allow Saramago to discuss a range of questions.