Rosana's Reviews > Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira

Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira by José Saramago
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Jan 29, 09

bookshelves: book-club, 2009, portuguese
Read in January, 2009

I finished reading Blindness a few days ago, and have not until now tried to write a review just because I am still musing about it. As the 5 stars attest, I am among those that did like the book very much, but I can see why it is a book that is not attractive to many. Saramago leaves the reader meandering about the possible “message” of this story, to the point of it seeming almost meaningless. If some authors are guilty of proselytizing, Saramago – in the opposite spectrum - lets us alone make our own conclusions about it. This way, and only in this way, it reminded me of Suttree by Comarc McCarthy, or better yet, The Road, which like Blindness has a claustrophobic effect on the reader.

I read it in Portuguese, and I don’t have in me now to read it again translated into English, as I previously meant to do. I found it so emotionally exhausting to follow these individuals trapped in a Kafka like universe that this book is going to stay among those that I loved but never intent to re-read.

Saramago’s prose is not poetic or beautiful. The imaginary he paints is bleak, and his narration is dense and deep. He writes strenuous long sentences, broken only by comas. This is especially hard while reading dialogues, because often it is impossible to recognize who said what. But as literary devices, these all add to the impact of the story being told.

As for the story itself, it made me reflect on the meaning of “humanity”. What is it, and how fragile is it? Can we retain our humanity if the basic structures of civilization crumble? And can we find it in something as simple as a cup of clean water? I don’t know if those were the philosophical questionings intended by the author, but I don’t think it maters. At the end, I believe the author is just there to make us wonder, and wonder I did.
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Quotes Rosana Liked

José Saramago
“blindness is a private matter between a person and the eyes with which he or she was born.”
José Saramago, Blindness


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