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Blindness (1995)

by José Saramago

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Blindness (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,736344441 (4.08)5 / 534
"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)
1990s (22)
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1990s (38)
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English (275)  Spanish (17)  Dutch (13)  Italian (10)  French (6)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Arabic (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (340)
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
That was a lot ( )
  hatingongodot | May 3, 2020 |
A Book Written By An Author With Your Same Initials

One man, sitting in his car at a red light, goes blind. A good Samaritan helps him get home. The good Samaritan goes blind several hours later. The first man's wife takes him to an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist goes blind later that night. As do the patients in the waiting room. As do all those who come in contact with anyone suffering the mysterious blindness.

So begins Blindness, Jose Saramago's story of the horrors that arise from an outbreak of a frightening disease of unknown cause without apparent cure. A disease whose method of transmission is unknown. But the disease is not the worst part of the nightmare. In a rational response, the government isolates both the blind and the contaminated. Through bureaucratic inefficiency and the natural responses of people facing circumstances beyond their comprehension, the patients suffer a hellish existence of neglect and brutality. Unsurprisingly, their suffering is made worse by the reprehensible behavior of the worst of those suffering the disease. And, when they finally escape their well-intentioned prison, they face an even worse fate - slow death as the world deteriorates towards a final cessation of all normal, necessary functions.

Yet Blindness is also a tale of the beauty of the human spirit, the courage and kindness people exhibit in the face of catastrophe. An exploration of what is important in our lives, of what makes us human. And an observation on the challenges our honesty and sincerity - our character - undergo when we must keep promises made in dire circumstances after those circumstances change.

Blindness is a book that should be read without knowing what is coming to be fully appreciated. Its unconventional writing style - nameless characters; long, oddly punctuated paragraphs; dialogue undifferentiated from narrative - speeds the reader along. Some of its impact might be lost in English (my version has a clunky usage of the familiar "tu" that will be lost on anyone unversed in Spanish), but it is incredibly powerful because it is a picture of all of us. ( )
1 vote skavlanj | Mar 29, 2020 |
Un hombre parado ante un semáforo en rojo se queda ciego súbitamente. Es el primer caso de una «ceguera blanca» que se expande de manera fulminante. Internados en cuarentena o perdidos en la ciudad, los ciegos tendrán que enfrentarse con lo que existe de más primitivo en la naturaleza humana: la voluntad de sobrevivir a cualquier precio.
  katherinevillar | Mar 23, 2020 |
Unfortunately I'd seen the film, so it'd been kinda ruined. Would have been 4 or 5 stars otherwise.

It's tight, economical, clear and overall well done. Almost sculptured at times. Character development and small spiritual journeys. Unique. All good.

Has a weird 'morality', lots of sayings and religious references, interrogations about good and evil, and hell scenes for the wicked and, later, the innocent. This morality and the hints and reality of the bad being punished was interesting but didn't really add anything. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
If one can say anything about this book without spoiling some of the elements, I’d say you cannot even move past the first page, so for those paranoid, read no further!

This is an absolutely marvellous book on a seemingly rampant blindness that leave its victims in a visual sea of milky white. Saramago delves into what this blindness means on many levels, foremost individually as well as for society in large, and shows humanity from within its core in a variety of ways.

To me, this book displays humankind and the surrounding world at the base level. When stripped of sight, our senses are shocked, and then, as through cooking, reduced to display our core values.

I haven’t read Saramago prior to this novel, but I hear his way of writing is the same almost everywhere: long sentences, few punctuations and no quotation marks to show who’s saying what in dialogue. It’s very interesting, yet I think some may dislike it. ( )
  pivic | Mar 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saramago, Joséprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desti, RitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemmens, HarrieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mertin, Ray-GüdeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pontiero, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weissová, LadaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If you can see, look.

If you can look, observe.

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