Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Jose Saramago's Blindness is the story of a city hit by an epidemic of 'while blindness.' This superbly well-written tale is insightful, evocative and harrowing. Indeed, I found aspects of it too distressing, so much so that I was angered with the plot and the book itself. To be direct, I have very little need or desire to read about fictional rape. If I want to think about such a horrific situation, I can reference various real situations. The book was very interesting, but turned into a story (similar to Lord of the Flies) that I was not seeking. I should say that I think the story is quite a plausible one (save initial and subsequent one or two logical flaws), so my objection is not on those grounds. Consequently, I cannot fully recommend this book, but I do believe others will find the overall experience more beneficial than I did.

One of the many parts I liked:
"With the passing of time, as well as the social evolution and genetic exchange, we ended up putting our conscience in the colour of blood and in the salt of tears, and, as if that were not enough, we made our eyes into a kind of mirror turned inwards, with the result that they often show without reserve what we are verbally trying to deny." (p. 17)

My interpretation is that Saramago is describing how our empathy developed over the evolutionary history of our organisms, in that we actually care or have concern when we see red blood or witness tears falling. What a wonderful way of expressing that occurrence.


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