Saturday, May 3, 2008


Quickie Recap: Very suddenly, a man goes blind. For no apparent reason, his vision completely fails him, and he has to abandon his car and be helped home by a stranger....who catches his blindness. Pretty soon, an epidemic of blindness is ravaging the city.

Quickie Review: Holy hell. I fully expected this book to be good, in the way that Moby Dick is good, which I hated. You know, the kind of book you should read, but is awful to read. But it wasn't. It was breathtakingly, achingly, toe-curlingly good, and I couldn't believe my luck! I mean, sure the dude has a Nobel Prize, and perhaps that should have been a giveaway, but there isn't any prize that comes close to rewarding an author for such a magnificent effort. I was spellbound from word one. From a purely sociological standpoint, this is a masterpiece. From a more philosophical bent, there just isn't a word out there to express how much this book will make you think, and panic, and mourn, and tear your hair out. And check this: "Do you mean that we have more words than we need? I mean that we have too few feelings." Holy fuck! Is that brilliant or what? Mr. Saramago, I owe you an apology. I could have, should have read this years ago but nobody told me that you were a genius. I am glad to have discovered it, and will be gladder still if anyone takes my advice and buys a copy.

Quickie Recommendation: Please, yes.


Lorna said...

quickie reactions: holy shit, yes

Jay said...

And I hear there's a movie to come also.

Honestly, this is the best thing I've read in a long time, and I've been reading some pretty great stuff lately. I must have some incredible book karma going on!!

Steven W. Beattie said...

The movie is directed by Fernando Meirelles, who did City of God and The Constant Gardener. If there is a director whose visual sensibility more closely resembles Saramago's literary one, I can't think of who it might be.

Many people have told me that they are put off by Saramago's style, with its run-on sentences and lack of paragraph breaks. But I find that after a few pages, I no longer even notice this.

Alana said...

Thank you for doing such a fabulous review on what is my favorite book. I've been talking about this book for years now, telling everyone I know, meet, see on the street, to read it and read it now. I borrowed it from a friend about 10 years ago and was spellbound by the first paragraph and couldn't put it down. Truly amazing, one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Steve said...

LOVED this one, and if you like this, you need to read "Seeing" next. I love Saramgo and his may not be for everyone, but he's pretty cool.