After 13 hours of listening to Jose Saramago "Blindness" I came to the following conclusion:
How fortunate was I, so that for so many years I have been reading and listening to mostly good books with largely prevailingly stories...
Unfortunately, Blindness is not a good story. And I'm sure of my firm opinion. The totally fictional novel of an epidemic that causes total blindness of the population of some unnamed country.
Well, as for the initial setting it was quite interesting - it could be a ground to serious deliberations on human nature - particularly under severe conditions. At some moments, I had the feeling that Jose Saramago was close to great prose and deep analysis of what can happen to man under an ill fortune and severe calamities. Some remote recollections of stories from death camps resonated in parts of the book ...
However, everything there was too far from the really deep thoughts and considerations, to deserve an appraisal. The moral notion of so many scenes is unconvincing. The considerations of some sexually oriented behaviour of blind people - quite offensive, to say the least.
The book ends with totally naive sudden recovery of all people from the blindness - almost like a happy end, with one shadow of unknown fate of one main character.
Unfortunately, I also found there too many tedious and flat passages - was this the result of poor translation? That I do not know. Maybe, in its original language, the book written, despite everything, by a Nobel price laureate, could defend its merits... Maybe....
I regret to write such review, but - I had no choice - this what my heart dictates...
The author interrupts a fairly decent plot line with overblown hyperbole and moralizing. Read this one in print instead, you can skip the continuous editorial comments.
This book was emotionally warm. It does go to show that people in order to come together have to exepeience a hardship. How one person can make a difference.
Big Cajun Man
The story itself was quite raw, and unapologetic in its descriptions of the 'post-apocalyptic' world the survivors live in.
Somewhat like Stephen King's tales of the end of the world, but a different narrative style.
Breaking away from the imposed imprisonment, and the exodus back to their homes.
The "thugs" collecting their payment for food was moving and disturbing.
I researched the author and knew a little background of the story before listening. I knew it wasn't going to be an "easy" read. Long story short...don't listen to it lying in a hospital bed.
the performance was great and it made an often sporadic style clear, however, this is certainly best read. I enjoyed it most when I was reading along wit a copy of the book. I will think about this story for along time and surely it's value to literature at large can't be understated.
This book had a lot of potential but I just found it exhausting with so much detail on things that didn't move the story. Too many observations and metaphorical thinking. I just stopped caring about what happened to the characters.
Interesting story idea, but horribly written. Sooo slow, repetitive, and drawn out. Had this not been in audio book form, I would have never gotten through it. Even so, I nearly quit many times. Don't waste your money/time.
The reader, who has a wonderful voice, read the whole book sadly. It is read as a sad book, but I don't think it is necessarily so. The text clearly has its redemptive moments, but the reader doesn't really express them. As a result, I found it hard to keep listening. The story is so emotionally intense that I really needed the highs and the lows, together, to sustain me.
Personally, I thought that the author did a disservice to blindness: he uses it as an allegory for anti-sociality, apathy, corruption, etc. Which, ironically, 'blinds' us to actual blind peoples' experiences in society. So, read knowing the author is an anarchist and take it as you find it.
Additionally, the reader needs to diversify his female voices--they all sound the same, slightly simpering, slightly too soft (slightly insulting to me, as a women with a full vocal range). This problem (of having one voice for all female characters and many voices for different male characters) is present in a lot of audio books, so I don't mean to single this reader out particularly. But for a book with such a strong social message about the way we 'see' or 'don't see' particular people, the homogenized female characters bugged me. The author wrote the book without giving any of his characters names, so perhaps a more accurate reading would have given the same voice to ALL the characters...?
I read this book for the thought experiment, as imagined by a skillful author and social critic. Worthwhile thinking material.