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.
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.
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".
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!
Jose Saramago is an ok writer. I was hoping for more though. What an interesting concept. Jonathan Davis did all he could to save it, but eventually the book fell flat. Perhaps it is the translation that kills it. I found the same problem with 100 Years of Solitude.
the original idea of the story is fascinating.
His performance was fine, the book just didn't have enough to compel me to care.
No. You'll be hard pressed to finish this book, I wouldn't waste my time with another translation.
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.