Blindness – Jose Saramago
Genre: Dystopia; Classic; Portugese
Summary: On a seemingly ordinary day, a random person is suddenly afflicted with blindness. Things only get stranger when more and more people become blind as the days go on, and said people are put into quarantine while researchers try to figure out what’s going on. The afflicted band together in their new home, while unbeknownst to them, panic engulfs the city they left behind. Will order and sight ever be returned?
Review: Blindness was a thoroughly absorbing read that left me eagerly turning the pages from start to finish.
The unnamed society that Saramgo imagines in this effort could really be any society in the modern world, and perhaps that’s what makes Blindness so terrifying and memorable. The characters within were just going about their normal lives when the disease set in, and it really makes one think that it could happen anywhere. The fact that those afflicted were quarantined for something they couldn’t control was also very scary, and when the circumstances are taken into consideration, it’s not difficult to imagine that any society would probably act in a similar fashion if something like this were to occur.
The most powerful aspect of Blindness was definitely the characters. None of them were named, and instead, the reader got to know them through their actions. Much like the characters, the reader was, in a sense, blind, as said characters could’ve been anyone, sort of like an “everyman.”
The overarching theme for the book was the concept of blindness and how important it is to open one’s eyes and really see things for how they are. Many people live in their own little world of ignorance or blindness, and Blindness stresses how important it is not to do so, as catastrophe could occur.
Blindness was a haunting, powerful, universal book that portrays what could happen if one doesn’t remove their blinders. If you’re a fan of dystopias or allegory, give this one a try. There are a few very graphic scenes that will probably haunt my memory for awhile, though, so be mindful that that’s present if you can’t stomach those kinds of things.