This was my first entry into the world of Jose Saramago, and had I not had the luxury of being on holiday and time to persevere with the book, I might well have given up. Halfway through, I suddenly got it and have subsequently read Blindness, Death at Intervals, and Seeing. All of them brilliant.
As other reviewers have said, Saramago's style of writing can be hard to get your head around at first. His stream of conciousness style; where there is no punctuation, and where the author switches between his own voice and that of a narrator... well, it can be difficult! But you come to recognise the style and after a while I found it easy to tell which character was talking and when. Moreover, I found myself concentrating on the book far more than I would any other novel.
Some of the reviewers here have pointed out that the basic premise of the book is narrow, it is - after all - a story about one man and his reaction to discovering a real life doppelganger. But Saramago revels in explaining the tiniest of details throughout the narrative and it draws the reader right in. I had no idea how the novel would end and thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns all the way through.