A driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by ...Read MoreA driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs. And when fire destroys the asylum, the inmates burst forth and the last links with a supposedly civilised society are snapped. No food, no water, no government, no obligation, no order. This is not anarchy, this is blindness.Read Less
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I wasn't very impressed by Saramago's writing style. Since he's won a pulitzer prize, I guess I'm just unable to appreciate his talents. I thought the story just went on and on about the same problems. Would have been better off getting this from the library instead of paying for it.
As far as the book condition: perfect condition and was delivered promptly.
May 25, 2010
Without explanation, people start going blind. Their blindness is white, which makes it all the more puzzling. The government quickly reacts by quarantining the blind, and using armed soldiers to keep them locked away.
Once people go blind, they're no longer 'people' or 'citizens' - they're 'THE INFECTED'. They're not fed adequately, and not allowed any medicine or cleaning products. The government could sent in workers in biohazard suits to distribute food and basic supplies, and provide medical care, but the government doesn't care. They put soldiers at the gates to the building where the blind are housed, and instruct them to shoot at the slightest provocation.
Very quickly, society inside the quarantine facility breaks down. The blind break into factions, and fight each other over food, valuables, and women.
The blind don't know it at the time, but their breakdown inside the asylum mirrors what is happening in the streets outside, and of course, outside of the book as well.
May 11, 2009
Raises Anxiety Levels
A haunting story. Reminded me of the horror stories reported by the media that occurred in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina.
Mar 12, 2009
this book is an interesting read about an epidemic of blindness. the author is very effective at conveying group dynamics in a stressful condition.
Nov 7, 2008
Beautiful and Bleak
If you're willing to overlook his punctuation style (i.e. many unnecessary commas, no quotation marks, quotes that flow in the middle of sentences set off by a capital letter) or if you can just get used to it, the book can be very rewarding. The dialogue was beautiful, and at times the language and imagery were utterly devastating. Its message is consistent from start to end, which can be somewhat one-note-ish, but the plot is well constructed and propels the action of the novel forward in spite of an arguably static message.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-07-13 Brilliant Portuguese fabulist Saramago (The History of the Siege of Lisbon) has never shied away from big game. His previous works have rewritten the history of Portugal, reimagined the life of Christ and remodeled a continent by cleaving the Iberian peninsula from Europe and setting it adrift. Here, Saramago stalks two of our oldest themes in the tale of a plague of blindness that strikes an unnamed European city. At the novel's opening, a driver sits in traffic, waiting for the light to change. By the time it does, his field of vision is white, a "milky sea." One by one, each person the man encountersæthe not-so-good Samaritan who drives him home, the man's wife, the ophthalmologist, the patients waiting to see the ophthalmologistæis struck blind. Like any inexplicable contagion, this plague of "white sickness" sets off panic. The government interns the blind, as well as those exposed to them, in an abandoned mental hospital guarded by an army with orders to shoot any detainee who tries to escape. Like Camus, to whom he cannot help being compared, Saramago uses the social disintegration of people in extremis as a crucible in which to study the combustion of our vices and virtues. As order at the mental hospital breaks down and the contagion spreads, the depraved overpower the decent. When the hospital is consumed in flames, the fleeing internees find that everyone has gone blind. Sightless people rove in packs, scavenging for food, sleeping wherever they can. Throughout the narrative, one character remains sighted, the ophthalmologist's wife. Claiming to be blind so she may be interned with her husband, she eventually becomes the guide and protector for an improvised family. Indeed, she is the reader's guide and stand-in, the repository of human decency, the hero, if such an elaborate fable can have a hero. Even after so many factual accounts of mass cruelty, this most sophisticated fiction retains its peculiar power to move and persuade. Editor, Drenka Willen. (Sept.) FYI: Paperback editions of The History of the Siege of Lisbon and Baltasar and Blimunda will be issued simultaneously. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2008-11-24 Saramago's chilling thriller about an epidemic of "white blindness" that affects everyone in its path is a truly remarkable tale of loss and a metaphor for the horrors of humankind. With such a large and varying cast of characters including young children, a mother and an elderly man, narrator Jonathan Davis gives a truly rousing performance and displays his wide-ranging ability. Each character is original and believable in the face of this unbelievable epidemic. Davis's reading puts his audience in a bright white place, where little is visual save for the listeners' imaginations running wild. Davis's voice paints a vivid portrait. A Harcourt paperback (Reviews, July 13, 1998). (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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