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The Parable Of The Blind
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1001 book reviews > The Parable of the Blind by Gert Hofmann

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message 1: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen | 116 comments 3* - This slight, unusual novel is based on the famous Dutch painting 'De parabel der blinden' (1568) by Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which is known to illustrate the Biblical parable of 'the blind leading the blind'. Here, German author Hofmann imagines the recruitment of the six blind men to pose as life models for Bruegel to paint. They are asked to find their way to his house in Flanders, and walk in frustrating (for them and reader alike) circles, wrong turns, and dead ends before eventually making their way. Then they are painted. Really, almost nothing happens, but it is still a successful novel. The desperation and claustrophobia of the characters is felt and conveyed clearly through both the dialogue and episodes. The exercise of reading an imagined version of how this painting came to be is in itself enjoyable. It's the first time I've read a book based on an imagined history of a work of art but I'd like to find others.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 3.5 stars, rounded up.

This is a bit of an odd book, but also smart, witty, comedic and dramatic. It takes the art of another and creates a story around it. I think that is my favorite part, because it feels like an extremely successful writing prompt assignment. It feel like the rest of us might be able to create a lovely story as well if we only pay attention to all the things that can inspire us. I am not a scholar of the Bible so I cannot say much about the biblical inspiration, but the book did make me think about the blind leading the blind and how often we all lead/follow blindly. If only we had someone telling the story of our moments and acting as our mirror. This book often made me laugh and more often made me think.


Tatjana JP | 276 comments I do agree this book is unusual one. What I loved about it is that the main characters are those from the famous painting of Breugel "The Blind leading the Blind". This novel depicts not only who these persons are, but in particular how they feel being blind.
Still, this book is a parable - where everything has some other meaning and connotation. Blind are not really blind, but people in general who behave like blind. They are led by somebody, also blind; they fall and stumble; they cannot tell whether it's day or night; they are going this way and that way without knowing where they are...
Overall, interesting quick read. My rating: 3 stars.


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