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Blindness (Harvest Book) by José Saramago (1995)

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English (218)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (12)  Italian (6)  French (5)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (270)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
What can I say that others have not? It was extremely scary. It was at first hard to read with its lack of punctuation and paragraphs and run on sentences. But it was exceptionally powerful and thought provoking. A few things that maybe others did not mention: No one in the book had names, only titles. Was this sort of an Everyman/Everywoman tale? There was "the doctor," "the doctor's wife," "the man with the eye patch," "the boy with the squint," and many others. In a way that helped me to remember them better. That is often the way I remember characters in books, not by their names, but by what they do. Another thought - maybe the one who was not blind was the most unfortunate character in the book. We only had to read about it - she had to see it. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I kept falling asleep as I was reading this book, mostly because I was always tired, not because the book was boring. And I kept not using a bookmark so I always forgot where I was and ended up reading things I didn't realize I'd already read. So that kind of influenced my feelings of the book and kind of made it hard for me to get into.

Anyway, the whole premise of the book is utterly terrifying. I don't know how you could possibly prevent the world from falling into utter chaos if there was a blindness epidemic. I tried to imagine what I would do in that situation, but it really just seems impossible.

It used to always be debatable for me whether I would rather be deaf or blind, but after reading this book I decided I would rather be deaf. But then I wondered if I would change my mind again if I read a book called Deafness. But somehow i just can't imagine that being quite as terrifying. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I couldn’t wait to finish this book---which is a good thing. The biblical-like narration was perfect for the story. The descriptions of the dirt, the stench and the despair of the characters left me feeling just as helpless. ( )
  vwriter | Aug 10, 2015 |
This is a highly symbolic novel, where, as Jose Saramago says himself, the human being has become blind to the pressing needs around, and is sending spacecrafts to the Mars to collect rocks, while there are people dying from starvation, diseases, and terrorism. At first, I was a bit skeptical because of the tone of the book, because it is so unlike his other books, but finally I found it highly insightful and thought-provoking, not to mention a drama of high suspens ( )
  CorinneT | Jul 31, 2015 |
You should not read this book when you are having a bad day. It is excellent dystopian writing about a time when blindness overtakes the entire population and civilization quickly disintegrates. Yet there remains some amount of goodness and justice in individuals. It is haunting because it is all too plausible. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
¿Qué pasaría si, un día, nos volvemos todos ciegos por una extraña epidemia? Esto se lo pregunta José Saramago y su respuesta es esta apasionante novela. Saramago teje una apasionante historia que te engancha y de la que no puedes salir porque piensas que podrías ser tú uno de esos ciegos, y quieres saber qué les pasa.

Pero Ensayo sobre la Ceguera es mucho más. http://www.destejiendoelmundo.net/201...
In Cecità Saramago denuncia con intensità di immagini e durezza la realtà della società contemporanea, una realtà fredda, assurda, cieca.
Un romanzo che fa riflettere sulla condizione umana e sulla propria condizione. Da leggere.
Per leggere la recensione completa:


» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saramago, Joséprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemmens, HarrieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mertin, Ray-GüdeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pontiero, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weissová, LadaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156007754, Paperback)

In an unnamed city in an unnamed country, a man sitting in his car waiting for a traffic light to change is suddenly struck blind. But instead of being plunged into darkness, this man sees everything white, as if he "were caught in a mist or had fallen into a milky sea." A Good Samaritan offers to drive him home (and later steals his car); his wife takes him by taxi to a nearby eye clinic where they are ushered past other patients into the doctor's office. Within a day the man's wife, the taxi driver, the doctor and his patients, and the car thief have all succumbed to blindness. As the epidemic spreads, the government panics and begins quarantining victims in an abandoned mental asylum--guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone who tries to escape. So begins Portuguese author José Saramago's gripping story of humanity under siege, written with a dearth of paragraphs, limited punctuation, and embedded dialogue minus either quotation marks or attribution. At first this may seem challenging, but the style actually contributes to the narrative's building tension, and to the reader's involvement.

In this community of blind people there is still one set of functioning eyes: the doctor's wife has affected blindness in order to accompany her husband to the asylum. As the number of victims grows and the asylum becomes overcrowded, systems begin to break down: toilets back up, food deliveries become sporadic; there is no medical treatment for the sick and no proper way to bury the dead. Inevitably, social conventions begin to crumble as well, with one group of blind inmates taking control of the dwindling food supply and using it to exploit the others. Through it all, the doctor's wife does her best to protect her little band of blind charges, eventually leading them out of the hospital and back into the horribly changed landscape of the city.

Blindness is in many ways a horrific novel, detailing as it does the total breakdown in society that follows upon this most unnatural disaster. Saramago takes his characters to the very edge of humanity and then pushes them over the precipice. His people learn to live in inexpressible filth, they commit acts of both unspeakable violence and amazing generosity that would have been unimaginable to them before the tragedy. The very structure of society itself alters to suit the circumstances as once-civilized, urban dwellers become ragged nomads traveling by touch from building to building in search of food. The devil is in the details, and Saramago has imagined for us in all its devastation a hell where those who went blind in the streets can never find their homes again, where people are reduced to eating chickens raw and packs of dogs roam the excrement-covered sidewalks scavenging from corpses.

And yet in the midst of all this horror Saramago has written passages of unsurpassed beauty. Upon being told she is beautiful by three of her charges, women who have never seen her, "the doctor's wife is reduced to tears because of a personal pronoun, an adverb, a verb, an adjective, mere grammatical categories, mere labels, just like the two women, the others, indefinite pronouns, they too are crying, they embrace the woman of the whole sentence, three graces beneath the falling rain." In this one woman Saramago has created an enduring, fully developed character who serves both as the eyes and ears of the reader and as the conscience of the race. And in Blindness he has written a profound, ultimately transcendent meditation on what it means to be human. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

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"A city is struck by an epidemic of "white blindness." Authorities confine the blind to a vacant mental hospital secured by armed guards under instructions to shoot anyone trying to escape. Inside, the criminal element among the blind holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers--among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears--through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twientieth century, Blindness is a powerful portrayal of man's worst appetites and weaknesses--and man's ultimately exhilarating spirit"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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