Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snapshot Book Review: Blindness

Blindness Blindness by José Saramago

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a very beautifully written book. I can imagine it as one that will be taught in modern literature classes in universities of the future, once enough time has passed for this to become a “classic.” The plainness of the language exposes the subtleties of the story, which are steeped in allegory—everything in this book seems as though it is standing for something else, from characters such as the doctor’s wife, to the mental asylum where the blind patients are interned, to the very blindness itself.

The story passes as a still-life painting, one scenic episode at a time that is both beautifully and horrifically drawn, but with the full calculated intent to evoke a particular emotion. The plot and the way in which it expands reminds me of something akin I am Legend or 28 Days Later, where society falls to ruins due to an epidemic, only this story is told from the inside out, showing the minds and emotions of the “sick” and “crazy” people. It is meant to show the instinctive downfalls of man, as he tries to obtain and keep power, how he acts civilized even as he acts “savage” and savage even as he acts “civilized.”

Blindness is a very thought-provoking book and certainly belongs on the shelves of Literature-with-a-capital-L. However, without having others with whom to discuss the book or a professor to guide me through it, my preferences tend toward the less allegorical and more straightforward novels. The sudden ending was inevitable and appropriate enough, but I couldn’t help being disappointed that the whole novel added up to exactly what it was promised from the moment the first character went blind.

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