In football, the winning of both the premier league and knock-out competitions in the same season. Achieved 6 times this century in England, the latest by Arsenal, the second time they've done it. The first time being in 1971.

In literature, a story by the great Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

The Double is a story about our hero, Mr. Golyadkin, and how his miserable life becomes even more miserable when his double, Mr. Golyadkin junior--a person identical in name and look to Mr. Golyadkin, shows up out of nowhere acting like a brown-nosing, hard-working bastard and completely ruins every bit of Mr. Golyadkin senior's pathetic little life.

Kinda shows how confusing real life can be for those who aren't the social type. Also kinda shows someone suffocating their life outside of work--their real self--in order to survive.

Mr. Golyadkin is evolving!!! Mr. Golyadkin evolved into Mr. Golyadkin junior.

Damn. I liked Mr. Golyadkin senior better.

"The Double" is the name of the English translation of "O Homen Duplicado", a 2002 novel by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago. The book would probably be considered an example of "magical realism" since it combines aspects of normal life with aspects of the fantastic. The book was loosely adapted into a movie called "Enemy" by Denis Villenueve in 2013.

Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a high school history teacher in an unspecified city and country who is living an unremarkable life. It seems that he is mildly depressed, and that his life is going nowhere in particular, and he is in a relationship with a woman he has trouble committing to, but in general, he is living an objectively decent middle-class life. This is disrupted by a seemingly minor incident: while watching a mediocre movie, he notices that one of the actors with a brief role looks exactly like him. While this might seem like a minor matter, Afonso quickly becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of his double, something that involves increasingly bizarre subterfuges as he rents every available movie by the production company to see how many other places he can find his double, and lies to his family, girlfriend and co-workers about what he is doing. He makes up bizarre, pretentious stories to tell the video store clerk why he is renting all these movies. And at this point, I have to move away for a second from discussing the plot, to discussing the tone. In the previous book of Saramago's I read, "All The Names" I found the narration dour and bleak---even though it dealt with a similar theme, an unassuming man suddenly feeling himself compelled to find somebody--- but here, the narration seems to be having fun, purposely pointing out how ridiculous Afonso's behavior is. The story unfolds, building the suspense until Afonso and his double, an actor named Antonio Claro, finally meet, at which point the plot twists get even weirder, all the way until the book's climax.

Among other things, one of the things this book highlighted for me is, how my acceptance as a reader helps a book along. Jose Saramago uses neither line breaks or quotation marks for dialogue, and often has paragraphs extending to dozens of pages. When I read "All The Names" I found this distracting, annoying, and frankly, a little pretentious, but with this book, it helped me get in a rhythm and appreciate the story more. Being "forced" to read the book without normal pauses allowed me to get more invested in what is, on the surface, a ridiculous premise. Perhaps because I already knew what to expect, this book drew me in, in a way that his previous book did not.

But, we might ask---what is this book about? Jose Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and he was well-known for his political and social commentary. What message does this book have for us? Is it about isolation in the modern world? Is it about the allure of media illusions? Is it about the fragility of human identity? As much as I thought this was an intelligently written book, I couldn't relate it to a single overarching intellectual theme. However, with good literature, it sometimes takes some reflection before we realize the point.

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