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Blindness (Harvest Book) by José Saramago (1995)


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English (215)  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 (267)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
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 |
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 suspense. ( )
  | Jun 18, 2015 | edit |
"If you can see, look. If you can look, observe." -Book of Exhortations

"I don't think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see."-Blindness

I have not read a book this painfully physical since Infinite Jest. After 300 pages immersed in a realm of inexplicable blindness, I find myself staring at my dog in wonder as she managed to jump up next to me on the couch. What were the chances that she wouldn't hit me? Or that she'd jump and hit the edge? How did she find just the right spot? Wait.. right. We're not blind.


Classic Saramago move.

This isn't a review, but I have a couple of things to say.

One, again: this book was painfully physical. There are no quotation marks--all you hear is the cadence of a new voice chiming in, knowable only by its capitalization. Your eyes blur reading huge pages of unbroken prose and these capital letters, much like a voice in the darkness, alert you to what is happening. You find yourself looking up after every 50 pages bewildered and thankful that you do, indeed, have your eyesight.

Two: Saramago's writing is fantastic.

Three: the entire point of the book is summarized in its epitaph. Everything else is gravy.

Delicious gravy, though. ( )
  Proustitutes | Jun 11, 2015 |
A white blindness gradually (over several weeks) infects the entire (almost) population: shockingly, the government and the populace don't react/adjust well - dehumanizing injustices occur. The dialogue style is neat. But if you want to read a fantastic book on the horrific and redeeming qualities of man during an epidemic of blindness, John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids blows Saramago away... and it was written four and a half decades earlier. ( )
  dandelionroots | Jun 2, 2015 |
This one was quite a tough read. The style made it quite difficult to get through at times, and I often found it hard to get back into it after leaving it alone for a while.

The story in the former mental asylum was quite intriguing, but this came to an abrupt end and it felt a little like the book lost its way after this. Some interesting points and observations throughout, but I'm not sure what the book is trying to say overall. ( )
  fothpaul | Apr 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (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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If you can see, look.

If you can look, observe.

-- From the Book of Exhortations
For Pilar
For my daughter Violante
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The amber light came on.
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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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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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