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Blindness (Movie Tie-In) by Jose Saramago

Blindness (Movie Tie-In) (original 1995; edition 2008)

by Jose Saramago

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,028252395 (4.12)5 / 420
Title:Blindness (Movie Tie-In)
Authors:Jose Saramago
Info:Mariner Books (2008), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Borrowed, finished 10/10

Work details

Blindness by José Saramago (1995)


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English (202)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (12)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
Blindness seemed quite a "slog" is because it tended to go on and on. The conversations without punctuation didn't bother me all that much because I was usually pretty clear who said what, although I will admit that I did go back to reread a few of its passages to clarify this issue.

The premise is interesting. A bout of "white blindness" sweeps the entire population. When this affliction only affects only a few people, they were placed in quarantine. However, when the blindness becomes more rampant, the government security in charge of this quarantine area abandoned its residents and they are left to fend for themselves. No names are ever used for the main characters, although the reader gets to know them quite well by their description.

I think the idea of this novel was to show how people, when reduced to their basics, are all the same. With eyesight, we "see" without seeing. Without eyesight, we sometimes "see" even more.

The end of this story surprised me. Now I do want to read its sequel, "Seeing". I want to see if the message I gleaned from this first book carries through in its sequel.

Hey, maybe "slog" was too rough of a word. Maybe "slog-lite" would be a better way to describe my feelings as I worked my way through this story. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Apr 17, 2014 |
The book, written by the Portuguese writer José Saramago, tells a ficticious story about tragedy and humanity. A white type of blindness is spread all over the world, affecting every human being on the planet. Without being able to see, humans will try to survive no matter what they have to do. However, the main character is a woman that pretends to be affected by the blindness but is actually not. Through her eyes, the reader can see how humans really are when there is nothing left to lose and when survival is the only thing that matters.
  sanabriass | Mar 24, 2014 |
I have had a difficult time writing an appropriate review for this book. On the one hand it was profound, philosophical, uncomfortably realistic in the sense of human nature. On the other hand, the punctuation is lacking, as is appropriate word choice to tell an engaging story. Half way through I was still wondering why this book was written. The author seems so passive in regards to actions and events that, in most cases, should cause outrage, panic, disgust, disappointment, or anger. The narrator's voice is incredibly nonchalant about these atrocities and that never really changes. I was also unhappy with the way the narrator suddenly becomes not only self aware in parts of the book, but aware of the reader as well, to the point that the narrator addresses the reader in a way.

The last thing I will say is that I was very disappointed in the conclusion. Like the author got himself into a hole he couldn't get out of, so he just decided there was no longer a hole. Don't be lazy. The premise was good, the story could have been told better but was also good, please take the time to come up with an acceptable ending. ( )
  alb2219 | Mar 19, 2014 |
A mere 326 pages that felt more like 3,000. To sum it up, hell is other people, or perhaps reading this book. I desperately need to read something light now. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Mar 9, 2014 |
I have been hesitating about rating this book. I decided eventually to give it a 4 stars instead of 5. it is a very good story, amazing even! The writer is very witty and has a lot to say.

The problem is with his writing style:
- Lots of commas in long endless sentences, which made me feel lost sometimes. He didn't give me the time to reflect on each sentence, it was a compulsive way of writing events. Maybe that's how sci-fi is written, it's not my cup of tea.
- No punctuation used to show that a conversation started. You have to figure out that it's a dialogue when you find a capital letter at the middle of a long sentence. You have to figure out who was talking to whom. After a while, it gets really annoying. The characters do not have names to begin with, which is already confusing!

Having said that, I loved the novel and want to read its sequel 'Seeing' , just to see what happens. A great plot for story that could've been written in a much more engaging way.


I have read 'Blindness' - José Saramago during September 2012.

I do not normally read such books. It can be considered sci-fi, and it's post-apocalytical (the first i ever read). It won a Nobel prize, and was turned into a movie starring Julianne Moore (can't wait to watch it).

The no punctuation thing, and no names annoyed me. I know it's supposed to help me feel blinded as they are, but it didn't click: I enjoy knowing who is talking and what's everyone's name, etc..

I think it was white blindness and not some other color, because all they can see is white (not total darkness, so they're supposedly seeing), but they're blind. Blind in the light, which is a metaphor of our generation, of the people living today: they cannot see although the light is illuminating their world.

I think that nobody else wrote about how blindness makes you inhumane. I know the whole post-apocalyptic books is a big fat industry that sells for teenagers, but this book wasn't cheesy, and it wasn't just another post-apocalyptic nonsense. It doesn't have any literary/poetic value either, but it does have some pop philosophy and pop psychology elements in it. And that was what kept me reading it. I have to say that there were some 100 pages that were quite boring, around the middle.

I think everyone should read this book, it is worth it, because it portrays the human psyche and nature in a crude, raw, and real way. It raises important issues about how humane we are, how egoistic we are, what are the real motives to our actions and so-called manners? How would we behave if nobody else can see what we're doing?!

The book didn't need 400 pages, but as I said, it was worth it. I am very glad it was voted on, and that I've read it.

Spoiler alert: The one person who didn't go blind was a woman in her forties, a mother-figure. She took care of the rest, she killed and stole and did all she had to do in order to keep herself, her husband, and her group safe and fed. So, the mother is the one who can see, who has some insight, some emotional clairvoyance, some emotional intelligence that compels her to take care of others and protect them. She is the mother, and that is why she doesn't go blind. her heart is alive, she can SEE. that is what I think. The mother in Saramago's world must be of pivotal role, that is why he thinks that everyone's blinded, but a mother can see things, and can love, and doesn't go blind. I know there are other mothers in the story, they all went blind. What's so special about this lady? She is the only 'real' mother-figure. So she forgives that girl for sleeping with her husband, because she feels tenderness for that girl, and that tenderness is stronger than her jealousy and her womanly instincts.

I saw the emotional part of this book, I kept wondering what would I do if I was in his or her shoes? That's the true value of that book, to me.

One thing I didn't like was how the heroine was 'the doctor's wife'. I wish he would've qualified her as her own being, not as the wife of someone.

I rated it 4 stars :) ( )
  pathogenik | Mar 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
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» 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:25 -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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