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Blindness
Blindness
Author: Jose Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero (Translator)
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers -- among them a boy with no mother, a girl ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780156007757
ISBN-10: 0156007754
Publication Date: 10/4/1999
Pages: 352
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 238

3.7 stars, based on 238 ratings
Publisher: Harvest Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Blindness on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
One of the best pieces of fiction I have ever read. It is a challenge to read it, no doubt, as there are no character names or even quotation marks to indication dialogue between people. It's like reading Faulkner, in some ways. But once you get the hang of it, it is an amazing story about an epidemic of white blindness that strikes a town, and eventually spreads around the world. It is a commentary as to how society treats the ill, and poses questions as to the disaster preparedness and reaction by the government, military and humanity as a whole. A superb book!
reviewed Blindness on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
A novel in which an entire population of people is struck with "white blindness" and the general breakdown of civilization which ensues. We follow a group who are linked by having all been exposed to the blindness in (ironically) an opthamologist's office. They are among the first of those to be rounded up and put into quarantine in what used to be a mental institution, and left food and supplies at erratic intervals, but otherwise left to their own devices.

It's a very abstract, allegory-type novel, not your everyday straightforward bestseller. You know there's a deeper meaning beyond the surface but you have to really work a bit harder to get the full experience.

The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this novel in 1998.
reviewed Blindness on + 119 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is fascinating, brutal, horrifying ... truly stirs up the imagination. Think Lord of the Flies with blind people. Very sad in places, and amusing in others. Saramango is a very adept author, excellent at sharing his visions with the reader, and this is accomplished in some part by his unique style of punctuation. This is a surprisingly quick read, but not for the faint of heart.
reviewed Blindness on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
An amazingly well written story that kept me captivated throughout. I had a hard time deciding whether to post it or hold onto it, in case I wanted to read it a few more times.
reviewed Blindness on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
One of the most depressing and uplifting books I've ever read. Saramago has an interesting style of prose. My mom says it's a lack of punctuation but I disagree. This guy is a genius.
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reviewed Blindness on + 4 more book reviews
I'm going to have to go with the camp that finds the book too depressing...although beautifully written, the content is too dark for me to feel the experience was worthwhile overall.
reviewed Blindness on + 6 more book reviews
Interesting concept. Different execution. Strange writing style. I'm not entirely sure if it was a translation thing or if Saramago just writes without punctuating (which I've glanced at one of his other books and it seems to be the case). The story is very deep in the sense of examining what it is to be human and how vastly different reactions and personalities can be in events of crisis. And it does a superb job at commenting on what it is to be blind metaphorically as well as literally.
reviewed Blindness on + 291 more book reviews
This is an interesting book about an unknown city in an unknown country that is plagued by an unknown "white blindness" that first strikes a man driving his car. It soon spreads to the man's wife, the doctor who examines him, and other people with whom he has come into contact with. Soon it turns into a national crisis with hundreds of new blind victims turning up daily. The blind are first kept quarantined in an old hospital, guarded by the military, but it quickly becomes apparent that the entire country or city has become blinded, and chaos ensues.

This is a great book written by a talented author, but it has some unique features. First, his sentences are very long and run-on sentences, sometimes going the length of a full page. Secondly, he uses no quotation marks when characters are speaking; you can figure out who is speaking from the other details, but it sometimes gets confusing and I had to backtrack frequently to figure out where I left off. Finally, the characters themselves don't even have proper names like one would expect in a more mainstream novel. Instead, the author identifies his characters by their relations to one another: the first blind man, the first blind man's wife, the doctor, the girl with the dark glasses and so on. Because of all this, it took me longer than usual to read this book, but I'm very glad that I did.

It was an enjoyable read, in the end.

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