Mar 24, 09
Read in March, 2009
Lord of the Flies meets Day of the Triffids in the inimitable style of the world's greatest living novelist. Whether an extended metaphor for the human condition or a devastating political statement, Blindness is a novel of great power that places all of our assumptions about culture and morality on the table and then sets the roulette wheel in motion. Saramago draws the reader into the narrative so that one experiences the story rather than merely reading it. From time to time, he directly addresses the reader, who is then forced to acknowledge existence outside the narrative and to apply the insights of the narrative to that existence. As always, there is a symbolic and sympathetic dog, in this case, "the dog of tears." As always, Saramago's characters are more three dimensional and interesting than one would expect of actors in a narrative with allegorical aspirations. In "the doctor's wife," he has created an amazing heroine who is more than our guide through a world of blindness, more than a symbol of hope in a world gone mad. She is strong but human, intelligent and kind, realistic yet hopeful, ethical and pragmatic, loyal but independent. She is the kind of woman one would want to marry (I was lucky enough to find someone like her) and the kind of person one would want to be. Blindness is not an easy book to read, but it is a book that enriches readers by making them see themselves and the world more clearly.