Wednesday, 3 June 2009

My Thoughts: Blindness by Jose Saramago

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This is the first novel that I have read by this Nobel winning author and I'll definately be keeping my eye out for more.
As Blindness opens we are on a busy main road witing for the lights to change from red to green. As soon as the lights flicker to green all the lanes start moving except one. The car at the front of the lane is stopped still, as people go to find out why they notice the man inside screaming. Someone opens the door and the sound of his screams, 'I'm blind' echo around the streets.
Gradually as the days pass more and more people become blind, first only those who came into contact with the first blind man and then those who come into contact with them.
As a method of controlling the spreading of the blindness, those who have gone blind and those who are known to have had contact with them are entered into an empty mental asylum. No one exchanges names, as more people enter the institution they announce their proffession but all instinctively keep their names, and thus their try identities hidden.
Unbeknown to anyone except her husband a woman who hasn't lost her sight is living amongst the blind. She keeps an eye out for people, helps the sick and injured. As the days pass less and less food or sanitation is provided, inevitably things in the wards go from bad to worse and the situation spirals out of control.

This novel is so full and degfinately worth the read, clearly allegorical, looking at the 'blindness' of society, the selfish and helpless people we have become.
My only hangup with this book was the layout. There is no punctuation for speech, when someone speaks there was just a comma followed by a capital letter. And when another person replied this was simply shown by the capitalisation of their forst word. As a result the paragraphs are extremely long, after a few pages I got used to the layout and it didn't bother me so much, but made this book hard to read when I was tired.
Challenges:
A-Z (Author)
999 (Award Winners)
Lost in Translation

Book Awards III


Book Awards II finished on June 1st and I failed miserably reading only 5 books when I needed to read 10. I read:
1. The Gathering by Anne Enright - Booker (2007)
2. The Famished Road by Ben Okri - Booker (1991)
3. The Hours, Cunningham
4. Fugitive Pieces, Michaels
5. Gould's Book of Fish, Flanagan

My favourite would definately be Fugitive Pieces with The Gathering being runner up.
Despite, or probably because of my failure I'm going to be giving this challenge another go.I still have many books on my original list that I'd like to read.
This 3rd version starts on July 1st and runs untill December 1st and requires 5 books to be read. This is my pool which I will chose from (and hopefully complete this time).

The Sea by John Banville - Booker (2005)
Wild Swans - Chang - British Book Award (1994)
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy - Commonwealth Writers' Prize (1994)
Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang -Commonwealth Writers' Prize (2001)
Andrea Levy, Small Island -Commonwealth Writers' Prize (2005) Costa (2004)
Charles Frazier Cold Mountain - National Book Award (1997)
Gilead - Marilynne Robinson - Pulitzer (2005)
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami - World Fantasy Award (2006)
Alice Munro — Runaway -Giller Prize (2004)
Mal Peet, Tamar -Carnegie 2005
Mary Norton, The Borrowers - Carnegie 1952
Spell of Winter - Dunmore -Orange 1996
Sunshine, Robin McKinley (Mythopoeic)
The Fair Folk, Marvin Kaye, World Fantasy

The 5 books have to come from 5 different awards, for more details go to the challenges blog here

1 comment:

3M said...

Welcome to the challenge!