Blindness (Blindness #1) by Jose Saramago

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 1999

A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that’s bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength.

Review –

Fantastic story of a blindness epidemic where instead of being in the dark, there is only whiteness and no one knows who started or what caused the epidemic.

At first the blinded were placed in a quarantined area, which was an old unused metal asylum and they were told they would be fed and cared for. That lasted about a day, okay, maybe two, and then the soldiers were afraid of catching the “blindness” and they just left the food in containers in a hallway and the people were on their own to get there and get the food back to the wards.

Soon there were many more people than there was food and eventually there was no food. As you can imagine, there were battles over food, beds, and control, which leads to horrific ends.

One woman does not go blind but she came with her husband and together with six or seven others they form a “family” and use the quarantine when a fire breaks out.

Because she can see, the woman is responsible for the care, cleaning  and feeding of the “family” as if they were children and eventually it takes a toll on her too.

There is no government, police force,or help of any kind. Everyone is blind.

The end of the story was a surprise and I’m not sure if I understood it or not. There is a sequel, so I guess it will be on my 2016 “to be read” list.

There was a movie made in 2008 starring Julianne Moore, as the woman who doesn’t go blind. Here is a link to the trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_WC4KNfBhw

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2 comments on “Blindness (Blindness #1) by Jose Saramago

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