Such a disappointment. I don't know if it was the translation, but I doubt it. I have read a lot of Spanish lit and am usually ok with its pedantic and preachy tone, but I found this book nearly intolerable. I can't claim to have spent any time, myself, finding out from a blind person what blindness is like, but it seems unlikely that Saramago checked any of his assumptions about blindness with actual blind people. They are portrayed in the most insulting and inhuman ways in this book. They wait for the one sighted individual in the story to help them with everything from cleaning their own bodies to providing entertainment. "If only there were a working radio" laments one character over and over, as if going blind has also stopped her from being able to sing. And don't even get me started on the public health aspects of the story. The idea that a doctor would wait overnight to report a possible epidemic of blindness to the medical authorities is ludicrous, that people would immediately be quarantined and abandoned without sanitary facilities, food, water, etc is absurd, and that only one person would be untouched by such an epidemic is ridiculous. There have been much better books exploring the breakdown of society because of nuclear or biological catastrophe, if that was what the author was attempting. I would recommend "A Canticle for Liebowitz" by Walter M Miller, "Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood,"Dies the Fire" by SM Stirling, "Speech Sounds" (short story) by Octavia Butler.
Some folks found the book thought-provoking as a parable of man's inhumanity to man, or blindness standing in for our isolation from one another, but I disagree that this was a parable. For an actual parable about blindness, interested readers should check out the fabulous play "En la ardiente oscuridad" by Antonio Buero Vallejo, in which the blind really do lead the blind. Now, THAT'S a parable.
The prose was to strained and dear. I found the concept intriguing but grew tired of every character having a description instead of a name. Blind people still have names. If I had to hear "dog of tears" one more time... A rare case of me liking the movie better than the book.
I wish I had never heard of "Dog of tears".
Great story, very well written
Yes, the multiple characters with a single voice becomes an issue sometimes. The reader does a great job in interpreting different characters but it becomes a bit confusing at times.
I haven't read anything else by this author, and perhaps it's the translation that is to blame, but wow -- what a tiresome and self-congratulatory book. Practically every observation is followed by an analysis of just how profound the observation is. That would be bad enough, but overall the observations were not very insightful. (How many times, for example, must we discuss at length that a blind person might use the work "see" in a manner that is not literal?)
Unlike some of the readers commenting on this book I like dystopian fiction. The fact that the book is dark and depressing is not the problem for me. And I think the plot is an interesting one, so that's not the problem either. The execution is the problem.
As for the reader, I thought he did a good job considering what he had to work with.
I truly hated this book. It was written to be disturbing. If you like hopeless, depressing books that give you nightmares this is the book for you. I think listening to it was probably worse than reading it because you couldn't skim. Characters have no names, few redeeming characteristics and no hope. Avoid it!
I chose this book because of a stellar review I heard on NPR. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was so disappointed when I listened to it. I thought the story just didn't have much description. My imagination didn't "run wild" painting pictures of the scenarios and the characters. I know that if I found myself in the same predicament, my emotions would have been intense. As I listened, I found my thoughts drifting because the reactions of the characters didn't seem genuine or even logical for that matter. I may have felt differently if the narration hadn't been so distracting. In general, I don't mind the "voice" or gender of the narrator being different than the main character, but I had a very difficult time picturing the main character actually speaking. It also felt like every sentence read by the narrator was an unfinished thought. It drove me crazy! I thought that if I just survived to the end, there would be a huge payoff and I would look back and everything would make sense. It didn't, not for me at least.
The development of the plot was initially Intriguing. The book even kept my attention through about the first hour of the incarceration and exploration by the blind. Then it became as stale and reeking as their living environment. I wish some of the negative reviews had been available before I had purchased this sad book. It is simply too tedious to slog through the second half.
I'm not blind, thank God, and don't have any opinions about whether or not this a rant about blind people. I just didn't like his style. The way I read it, the author definitely has an attitude and I wasn't comfortable with it. Blind or sighted, I would not recommend it.
This is heavy-handed at best. Authors make choices and, well, these choices seemed poor. Now a Nobel winning author deserves some amount of appreciation for their ability to reach out and do something new and really ground-breaking.
Honestly, I simply couldn't find it. I've read some of the text as well and I think that the irritating way that this is composed is perhaps even amplified in the reading. Good concept, poor execution. I don't need to have my head bashed against the point, either. Not subtle no matter how you look at it.