Sera's Reviews > Blindness

Blindness by José Saramago
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's review
Sep 07, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: literary-fiction, own
Recommended to Sera by: TNBBC
Read in August, 2008


I thought that Blindness was a great book. However, like The Road, I can't seem to give it 5 stars; nor can I put it on my top 10 list of favorite books. Although very unique, I don't think that it will become a classic, and it also didn't leave me saying "wow" when it was over. However, for those of you who know me understand that I tend to get picky when I review the books that I've read, and as usual, it shouldn't detract anyone from reading this fine novel. I would recommend it to everyone whom I know.

With that said, I found the book to be incredibly distrubing. The battle of the good versus evil in humans is prevalent, even when the nation is facing its most dire times. The primitive aspects of humans was also shocking, because the novel portrayed us as animals at various times. But what would happen if everyone went blind? How we would we manage as a society? The point that Saramago makes is that we likely wouldn't, althought he does allude at times to some semblence of organization in this choatic society and he makes more than one reference to the need for a governing body to take the lead in holding that society together.

Someone made the comment in one of the threads that I read that the interned blind citizens reminded her of how we treated the displaced during hurricane Katrina. When examined in that context, it made the book so much more realistic and led me to feel uncertain about whether I would have the will to survive under those circumstances. How does one keep faith or hope? How does one avoid going mad under such inhumane conditions? I don't know, and God knows, I hope that I never find out.

The doctor's wife is the heroine of the story, because she is the only one who can see. Because of this, she is forced to make certain choices and she is burdened by what she witnesses around her. I thought that her character was well-crafted and touched the range of emotions that most would have felt if her position, but would each of us been as brave? Would some of us have abused the advantage that we had over everyone else?

We take so much for granted in this society from working bathrooms to the generous amounts of food and water that we consume on a daily basis. It was amazing to read what life would be like if our infrastructure collapsed, and it made me think of the fact that there are still people in this modern world who don't have these necessities available to them. No, this read is not an uplifting one, and unlike The Road, I didn't feel that there was a sign of hope at the end.

The first 2/3 of the book is a roller coaster ride, and then the last 1/3 slows down a bit until its conclusion. As usual, I was a tad bit disappointed with the ending, but I guess the only other options were the end of the world or the reestablishment of a society filled with blind people. It would have been interesting, I think, to get some insight into the latter, which would have given the book more of a life go on approach even when the worst had happened. Instead, I only imagined that everything would need to be cleaned-up and reorganized, but then life would then get back to normal. But would it? Would it change the way these people behaved toward each other after what they had experienced? Some would change I'm sure, but many would likely remain the same, too. Therefore, the message of the author (assuming he had one) gets a little cloudy here.
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