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Author: José Saramago.
Genre: Science fiction.
Review: Lis T.
I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see.José Saramago, Blindness
José Saramago was one of the most recognized novelists of the last decade, he was born in Portugal and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; his narrative style is not the best, but he catches the reader, in this case, he does not use punctuation marks to separate the conversations, instead he used commas and points, to give the reader freedom to understand the meaning they wants. Initially, the author narrates how a strange white blindness like milk spreads rapidly through the city.
The first recorded case was a man who was driving and, when he stops at the traffic light, he is completely in shock, illuminated by a bright and impenetrable white spot, he speaks the same three words again and again: ”I am blind”, then he is accompanied to his home by a kindly stranger. But this good Samaritan is also a car thief. So, the cases keep coming up consecutively and that’s where the following characters appear, all with opposite lives. Here the interesting thing is that Saramago uses a different technique and leaves the characters without a name, instead of describing them physically and internally, causing the reader, by obligation, to try harder to identify each of the protagonists through the book.
Half of the novel is narrated on the same stage: An old mental hospital where the government has decided to locate all the ” infected people”. Each of the characters will show their darkest feelings, so they must face primitive circumstances that lead them to survive at all costs, because they are left there in inhuman conditions, isolated from civilization and with very little provision to live; the strange thing is that one of the main characters does not go blind and is the one who always helps those around her, among them her husband “the doctor”, serving as a guide and consolation for them; but blindness does not wait and inevitable spreads throughout the city, so these characters, after tragic moments can leave the frightening place they are in to find a daunting reality.
The author’s reflection does not go unnoticed, about human behavior in extreme conditions. Despite being a novel, it is not too far from reality when it comes to social problems that occur in daily life, like greed, indifference, selfishness, and the cruelty of those who do not care what happens around them. After all this Saramago shows us that, in the midst of chaos if there is a person full of love and solidarity, there will be hope. Unquestionably, it is an enriching work.
All the best,