Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > Blindness by Jose Saramago

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message 1: by Jacqueline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:04PM) (new)

Jacqueline Kellam | 1 comments I found this book to be unbearably bleak and the characters unlikable in the extreme. I can appreciate the theme of total societal breakdown in the face of an insidious and unrelenting disaster. This imagining of such an event is so fully realized, and so frightening, that I nearly put the book down many times. I read to be enlightened and educated, but also entertained and this book only left me with a sense of imminent doom. An unusual writing style (or perhaps it the translation style) did not contribute to my enjoyment. In any case, it was startlingly different from anything I have read, and while I didn't like the subject matter or the writing style, it has stayed with me - if only to remember to avoid Jose Saramago's writing! I am glad there are authors like Saramago, who push boundaries of thought and established practice, and force us to look at the human psyche and condition, peeling the scales from our eyes. I started out to say that Blindness was a book I loathed, but I must also say that it is an important book, despite its negative and depressing view of human nature under stress.

message 2: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Ann M | 39 comments Ugh, I hate Saramago. His characters are simplistic, more like archetypes than individuals. It's like reading dumb fairy tales.

message 3: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) Im sad to see that you both had bad experiences with Blindess. I have to agree that his writing style is very unique and at times grating (quite possibly due to the language, and translation), however, I was pulled into this novel from the very begining. I was shocked to see how the government treated these poor suffering, scared people, but also I was digusted by the way they treated themselves. To this day, I can still recall moments from the book, and find it hard to shake.

I have also read his follow up to this novel, Seeing. By no means does it come close to the powerful visions he managed to leave burned into my memory with Blindness, but it follows that same town 4 years later, and shows, yet again, the nastiness of the goverment against these people.

I did enjoy both novels, and give him kudos as well for coming up with a storyline like no other....

message 4: by Steve (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Steve | 8 comments I am reading Blindness at the moment and I am gripped. Saramago does have an unusual prose style but I got into the flow of it within a few pages.

I'd agree that the characters appear more like archetypes than fleshed out individuals but I don't find that a problem: it's not that kind of novel. He is writing about the herd and not the individual sheep.

But I enjoy books that challenge my perceptions of what fiction can be and explore ideas rather than characters.

It is a harrowing and thought-provoking book so far. Enjoyable? In the sense that it is making me think and I can't wait to get home from work to carry on reading it, yes.

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