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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
a wonderful read, shocking at times and stunningly original - you'll want to read EVERYTHING he's ever writtenPublished 2 months ago by S. Cuschieri
I read this book a few years ago now but I find the story still haunts me. I found it difficult at first time adjust to the authors style of writing, however the story quickly... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ggreeneyes
Blindness is one of those books that's really like no other I've read. It's written in a unusual style but one that was an easy read once you got into the rhythm. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2011 by Kadi Kaljuste
Amazing, Amazing and Amazing. If you are into different writing styles, you will love Jose Saramago's style. Takes getting used to, but when you do, you will get hooked. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2009 by S. El-Hilo
The great gift of this writer is that he can write a simple story with simple words producing in the final an astonishing result. Read morePublished on July 8 2009 by M. Rau
Saramago's Blindness is such a compelling story that despite the style of writing and lack of punctuation, it was still a page turner. Read morePublished on May 4 2009 by mellyboo
I bought a book to read over the Christmas holidays and WOW - I certainly found one in BLINDNESS. It's the type of story that once you begin reading you want to (or feel you have... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2009 by Sheila J. Croome
Our book club chose this book recently and almost everyone in our group loved it. It is a fascinating story and character study. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2008 by Edmonton book lover
Une oeuvre dure, impacable même, sur la laideur de la nature humaine dans toute son horreur et son égoïsme, mais qui voit les personnages s'accrocher au plus mince espoir de... Read morePublished on March 10 2005