Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BLINDNESS by Jose Saramago

Imagine that in one moment you can see, and then the next you lose your vision. Suddenly, all you can see is a thick fog of opaque whiteness. You're blind and you don't know why. The doctor can't tell you why either. And then you realize that people you come into contact with grow blind as well.


Blindess is my all-time favorite work of fiction. Gripping. It has the feel of reality TV, back when reality TV like Survivor, was about answering the question what if? What if one by one, people started seeing nothing but white. What if blindness became contagious? What if this contagion of blindness grips the city, the country, maybe even the world? What if you put all the blind people in one place and there's no one to take care of them? Would it bring out the evil or the good in people? If you're massively interested in human dynamics, this book brings you to the edges of imagining how people would react in extreme, but strangely possible, situations. Against a backdrop so surreal your jaws drop while reading, Saramago paints characters who could very well be real.

If this is not Saramago's best work, I can't wait to read his other masterpieces. The wannabe writer in me aches in envy. How can one write fiction without using proper nouns? Saramago did, and his work didn't suffer any. Excellent writing. He deserves his Nobel.