Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book #9 "Blindness" by José Saramago

This  book was translated from Spanish, and one of the first things I noticed is that I can tell that it was written in Spanish, which I think means the translator did a really good job.  It's very obvious that "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" was written in Japanese, for the same reason.  I'm interested to read other translated books to see if the same is true for them.

The writing in "Blindness" is a little vague and very philosophical.  There were points where it was difficult to figure out what exactly was going on, or if he meant what I thought he did.  None of the dialogue had quotation marks or new paragraphs, it flowed with the paragraph with only a comma to separate lines.  This was a little confusing, but I also liked it.  It created the feel of being an observer and overhearing bits of conversation.

The story follows a small group of people who are among the first to go blind in a world-wide epidemic.  The government quarantines them in an unused mental asylum, providing food but refusing to interfere in disputes, fire, or even murder.  The group has to deal with hunger, sickness, and the horrors of humans living without normal consequences.  While brutal and disturbing, I thought the results were also very realistic.

I wouldn't recommend this book unless you find the idea very intriguing.  Although José Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he's pretty hard to read.  Yet, I find myself thinking about this book often, and it's definitely had an impact on the way that I view society and disability.  I haven't decided whether I want to suffer through the sequel "Seeing" or not.

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