Jose Saramago

I first read Blindness a few years ago and I was struck by the fluidity of the prose as well as by the subject matter. In Blindness, the entire population of a city goes blind, a type of blindness where individuals only see white. The story is told by a women who somehow manages to not lose her eyesight throughout the entire ordeal. As the residents go blind, they are slowly quarentined off in an old abandoned hospital and are pretty much left to fend for themselves as the police and other sources of authority disappear. In moments of intense human weakness such as this, the author portrays how easy it is to be manipulative, to hurt innocents and the level of greed necessary to gain power over others. The narrator witnesses everything, but pretends to be blind in order to stay with her husband.

The dialog in this book is complex to keep up with, since the Saramago does not distinguish between characters, nor does he use quotation marks. You can tell who is saying what based on the character persona’s and for the most part its one-liner’s going back and forth. But this is something that needs full concentration when reading.

I’m currently carrying around The Double by Saramago in my bag, and am finding time to read little bits and pieces of it every now and then. I’m not even 20 pages into the book, and already the plot, the characters and the conflict has been arranged. A depressed history teacher with no life watches a movie on the encouragement of a colleage. In this movie, he sees a man that looks exactly like him, and he thinks that this man, is him.

Its an interesting concept, and I’m curious to see how it gets figured out, who this double is, and how the two men relate to each other. His writing style is still the same in terms of dialog, but at least by now I’m able to keep up with the conversation.

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