Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review - Blindness by Jose Saramago

There's a devastating moment at the midway point of Jose Saramago's Blindness which would've served as the perfect ending to the novel - an unhappy ending for sure, but only to be expected in this type of fiction. 

Up until the halfway point, Blindness is a haunting dystopian classic. The second half seems fairly pointless. It's grim for the sake of being grim, with an disappointing conclusion. 

As in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Saramago's characters are deliberately one-dimensional, which works incredibly well. The need for distinct characteristics (or even names) isn't the point.  It's a story about human beings attempting to survive in an oppressive environment. 

I don't usually make a habit of offering writing tips to sadly-departed Nobel Prize winners, but if I was editing this book I'd have made it 50% shorter. 

By the way, don't read this book if you're looking for an accurate and sensitive portrayal of blindness as a disability. To say the least, Saramago was pretty far off the mark. 

Casting this shortcoming aside, the first half of this novel is well worth reading. 

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