bookspacePhoto of readermy comments
 home > bookspace > my comments > comment: blindness /
Subscribe via RSS 
Blindness
Jose Saramago
Adult Fiction SARAMAG

Comments  Summary  Excerpt  Reviews  Author Notes

From Publishers' Weekly:

Brilliant Portuguese fabulist Saramago (The History of the Siege of Lisbon) has never shied away from big game. His previous works have rewritten the history of Portugal, reimagined the life of Christ and remodeled a continent by cleaving the Iberian peninsula from Europe and setting it adrift. Here, Saramago stalks two of our oldest themes in the tale of a plague of blindness that strikes an unnamed European city. At the novel's opening, a driver sits in traffic, waiting for the light to change. By the time it does, his field of vision is white, a "milky sea." One by one, each person the man encounters‘the not-so-good Samaritan who drives him home, the man's wife, the ophthalmologist, the patients waiting to see the ophthalmologist‘is struck blind. Like any inexplicable contagion, this plague of "white sickness" sets off panic. The government interns the blind, as well as those exposed to them, in an abandoned mental hospital guarded by an army with orders to shoot any detainee who tries to escape. Like Camus, to whom he cannot help being compared, Saramago uses the social disintegration of people in extremis as a crucible in which to study the combustion of our vices and virtues. As order at the mental hospital breaks down and the contagion spreads, the depraved overpower the decent. When the hospital is consumed in flames, the fleeing internees find that everyone has gone blind. Sightless people rove in packs, scavenging for food, sleeping wherever they can. Throughout the narrative, one character remains sighted, the ophthalmologist's wife. Claiming to be blind so she may be interned with her husband, she eventually becomes the guide and protector for an improvised family. Indeed, she is the reader's guide and stand-in, the repository of human decency, the hero, if such an elaborate fable can have a hero. Even after so many factual accounts of mass cruelty, this most sophisticated fiction retains its peculiar power to move and persuade. Editor, Drenka Willen. (Sept.) FYI: Paperback editions of The History of the Siege of Lisbon and Baltasar and Blimunda will be issued simultaneously. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Saramago's 1998 Nobel prize-winning novel, about the citizens of an unnamed city going blind and succumbing to their basest instincts, is his first book ever to appear in audio. Unfortunately, Saramago's allegory about the role of the individual in an uncaring society and the search for meaning is somewhat heavy-going in audio format because of the lack of well-defined characters and setting. Actor Jonathan Davis (Snow Crash) makes this often chaotic sociopolitical tale more palatable with his sensitive, measured reading. The tie-in with Fernando Meirelles's recently released film adaptation starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo may create some demand among public and academic library patrons. [Watch the trailer at blindness.notlong.com.--Ed.]--Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Question about returns, requests or other account details?
 Add a Comment
Submission Guidelines

Find this title in the Library Catalog
Find this title in the Library Catalog


more titles about

main characters Unnamed
Female
Married
Feigning blindness to stay with her quarantined husband; wife of an ophthalmologist.



recent comments
hcl mobile app
hclib
mobile
app
Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Vimeo Flickr Federal Depository Library Federal
Depository
Library
Hennepin County Government Hennepin
County
Government
© 2014  Hennepin County Library12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305 Comments and Feedback    |    RSS