Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Old Reviews (1): Blindness by Jose Saramago

Okay, so as I mentioned in my Man Booker Rant, a long time ago, before I started book blogging, I used to do short little reviews of books in my other blog.

Presently, I have embarked upon a heavy duty very time-consuming writing schedule, in an attempt to finish my present WIP. I also decided to start a 700 book (that I am reading in French, meaning slightly slower reading pace)at the same time. Which means, I am guessing, that's it's going to be hard for me to post reviews for the next little while.

SO, in the meantime, I have decided to go back and post my mini reviews of books that were originally done in my other blog, Vegan In the Land of Frog Legs and Cheese. I was thinking I would do two per post, but since this is an introductory post, it will just get one.


Author:Jose Saramago


Recommended?Sure thing, even to a YA crowd. This book is GOOD! And even if you're not someone who would normally read a book that won the Nobel Peace Prize, don't let that scare you away. This book is a total page turner!

What I Have to Say:
I absolutely LOVED this book! I had for some reason heard bad things about it, but I can't even begin to understand why. I really couldn't put it down, and I am now dying to see the movie, despite the fact that there is NO possible way that it will do the book justice.

Summary(from GoodReads)(but I wouldn't read it if I were you; I feel like it gives away too much of the book):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.

Notice how short that was. And how very little it said about the actual book. Some are a little bit more detailed than that, but that's about what you'll be getting for the next few posts.

YAY for Blindness.
N.B. I still have not seen the movie.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You have a very cool blog; thanks for visiting mine too.

I LOVED Blindness; Saramago - read it twice.

BTW: www.paperbackswap.com is a book swapping site, but i believe it is only available within the US.

Eleni said...

I looooooooooooooove this book! It's one of my faves, and the movie wasn't bad either!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Sometimes short is better. It is nice to hear what you think of it, because it seems the books summary tells what the book is about very well.

I do think I vaguely remember hearing of a movie with the same idea as this.

This sounds really really good. I want to know what happened to the outside world. Very neat! Thanks!

Blodeuedd said...

I will keep this one in mind, I have not yet read anything by Saramago

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