Monday, December 1, 2014


José Saramago
Translated by Giovanni Pontiero 

Published 1995

First Sentence
"The amber light came on."
Publisher's Description:
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that's bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength.

Dear Reader,

This book has been sitting on my shelf for at least two years now and I finally broke down and picked it up. Don't think that the book sat on the shelf because I wasn't interested in it, on the contrary, I was so intrigued by it I didn't want the movie to spoil my experience. The movie came out in 2008 and apparently waiting worked because when I lifted this book off the shelf to read it, I had forgotten it was made into a movie until Arianna mentioned it. After that, it all started flooding back to me. Unfortunately, I liked the movie better! There I said it. Okay, so to be fair... I should pick up the movie and watch it again just to be absolutely positive my feelings stay the same on this, but I'm pretty sure the movie wins out on this one.

Why? Glad you asked. I believe the movie SPOILED my experience with this book. I hate to say it but sometimes that happens and I find it truly heartbreaking. Just like when a movie doesn't live up to the book, the same can be said vice versa. Now I know some of you will rebuke that the writing of the book is so phenomenal it stands out on its own... Ohhkay, but I'm on the fence about the writing. Obviously the Author has a style that is very unique and I'm hoping the translation didn't dissolve some of that. I'm very weary of translations, I always wonder if the faults are from the Author or the translator?! The style is written like a huge run-on sentence without punctuation. It was VERY distracting to read and slowed this book down to a crawling pace. Maybe the Author wanted that? Reading slowly opens our eyes to things we might fly past normally, so this could be a motivated way to get the reader to fully comprehend everything written. However, I can't say that I wasn't annoyed by it, because it was very distracting for me. I kept screaming at the book, "WHO THE HECK IS SPEAKING!!!!", the dialogue was madness.

What did I like about this book? The dark, bleak and horrifying cautionary theme underlying the book. This was fully expressed in the movie, therefore might be the reason why I prefered the movie to the book. Nobody wants to suddenly go blind! The Author takes it one step further and makes the whole world go blind, if thats not horrifying, I don't know what is. The Author brings up so many thoughtful questions about society, humanity, good/evil and just the overall sense of discomfort from lack of control. This book made me think hard in a really good way... I just didn't like the style of writing the Author used. It looks like this book has overall excellent ratings but those that didn't like it, gave it a one or two rating. I have to stick with the middle because I was impressed on one end but annoyed on the other. I would love to know what you thought of this book!!!

Happy Reading,
P.S. - Check out the link below - the digital kindle copy of this book is only $2.99 (not sure how long that will last).

Blindness (Blindness, #1)

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Left: Paperback - Right: Kindle

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