- Publisher: Paperback (November 4, 1999)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004R0Y7G2
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (668 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blindness (Harvest Book) By Jose Saramago Paperback – November 4, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
More than a novel, I see 'Blindness' as a disquisition on human values. Its title in Portuguese, 'Esaio sobre a cegueira' (literally, 'Essay on blindness'), gives us a clue as to what Saramago is up to in the novel. There are terrible acts of violence and beautiful acts of solidarity; there are jokes on the way we use our language, so centered in our sense of sight; there are asides among characters, revealing, in many instances, the need for companionship and, at the same time, the ultimatately unknowable nature of everyone next to us. In many ways, 'Blindness' is reminiscent of Sartre's play 'Huis clos'. In Sartre's play, our eyes represent the hell everybody has to live with because it is through them that we base our opinions of others, particularly those next to us; in Saramago's novel, our eyes interfere with our attempts to know things and each other better because we become so easily prejudiced by the looks of things and people. One dialogue between two of the characters close to the end of the novel--the old man with a band on one of his eyes and the girl with the dark glasses--exemplify this last point beautifully.Read more ›
What strikes me most stongly about this book is the author's challenges he sets up for himself early on. As more and more characters are introduced, the challenge of keeping track of who is speaking and who is where mounts exponentially. I kept saying to myself "How's he going to do it when the wards fill up?" As noted throughout the reviews, Saramago does not provide us with the usual authorial roadmap.
What surprises me is that only one other reviewer (Michael Lima) mentioned that this stylistic maneuvering is a great metaphor for the subject matter. As readers, we are disoriented by the lack of accustomed punctuation, among other things. We have to pause sometimes to get our bearings. "Who said that?" we ask ourselves. It's exactly appropos to the way the blind characters react in the novel. Saramago wants the reader disoriented so that the empathy we feel for his characters becomes more pronounced. We share an awareness of what they are experiencing first-hand. We too have to grope our way in the dark, without the usual guideposts. The characters go unnamed. As one of the chracters thinks to himself,"names are of no importance here." We know them only as "the first blind man" or the "girl with dark glasses" or "the doctor's wife." One reviewer objected to this device, citing "the dog of tears" as an example of Saramago's ineptitude.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book, gorgeously translated, is a story as deeply sad as it is uplifting. The writing is beautiful; superb. .Published 2 days ago by N8RMama
Puts you into the uncomfortable situation of imagining a world where life is a little challenging. Well written story flows nicelyPublished 4 days ago by Tomasz Hasinski
This book is unique. Not really my genre of reading but the description captured my attention and I didn't hesitate to get it. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Victoria
One of the most compelling books I have read in a long time. Lends itself to a multifaceted discussion in a book club. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Readinggal
I'm tired of Saramago's gimmicky punctuation, especially when it comes to delineating characters in a dialog. It makes for needless work for the reader. Read morePublished 7 days ago by richard
I'm having a really hard time getting through this book. There's no punctuation for speech back and forth between the characters, so it can get really confusing pretty easily..Published 14 days ago by Maddie
The book was intriguing. But never gave any answer's to why or what happened next. Very wordy but wanted morePublished 1 month ago by Nadine132