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Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira From Nobel Prize Winning Author Jos Saramago, A Magnificent, Mesmerizing Parable Of LossA 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 This book left me speechless which is a rare occurrence Please enjoy the pictures to illustrate the plot while I recover my gift of rambling An unexplained plague of white blindness sweeps the unnamed country Initial attempts to hastily quarantine the blind in an abandoned mental hospital fail to contain the spread What they succeed at is immediately creating the easy us versus them divide between the helpless newly blind and the terrified seeing Before we know, we are immersed in the horrifying surreal world of hopelessness, filth, violence, and hate, where the true enemy is not their affliction but people themselves, which we can see through the eyes of the only person who appears immune to blindnessPerhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly areAs the blindness epidemic spreads, we see the disintegration of society just like we witnessed the destruction of humanity in the quarantine area Excrement covers sidewalks, dogs munch on human corpses, the blind rot in the stores after futile attempts to find food Even the saints in the churches are blinded The world is a bleak picture of desolation and destruction Lovely, no We don t know why it happened whether it s a test, a warning, or a punishment Instead, we get a nagging haunting feeling that the real blindness was there all along the blindness towards the others, the blindness towards our real selves, and the physical blindness served as a way to unveil it What was always there but went unseen before because it used to be easy to shrug off Fear Us against them attitude Greed Contempt Hatred Selfishness Love of power Cowardice Apathy Isolation Filth Rape Murder Theft Ignorance Indifference Blaming the victim It was all already there, and blindness amplified it And, as society decays and falls apart, the question of what is means to be human comes upI don t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not seeThings that made us human are gone Faces don t matter Names don t matter Homes don t matter Possessions don t matter Shame and modesty are gone Medicine is useless Government is useless Morals seem obsolete Empathy is gone Is anything left Anything inside usThe difficult thing isn t living with other people, it s understanding themThe vestiges of humanity are the only rays of hope in this bleak world The girl with the dark glasses taking care of the boy with the squint The man with the eye patch and his love And the doctor s wife, the only one who retained her sight Why Was it because she was the most human Or maybe she remained human because she retained her sight Who knows She is quiet and caring, leading the blind, washing the raped women, weeping over the dead but killing if she must She sticks by her morals even if she is forced to violate them She is the guiding light and the quiet hero in this world of darkness whiteness, keeping her charges from degradation without expecting anything in returnIf we cannot live entirely like human beings, at least let us do everything in our power not to live entirely like animalsThe style of this book may not be for everyone disclaimer I loved it The pages are filled margin to margin with solid wall of text There are no dialogue marks, and the seemingly mundane bits of everyday speech are separated only by capital letters Sometimes you need to almost read the sentences out loud to get a feel for who is speaking it s very fitting that the book about the blind is better perceived in a non visual medium The sentences are long in a European fashion , run on, and beautifully punctuated It is not a book to skim, it requires concentration, and definitely is not a light read If all of the above does not scare you, you should give this one a try.I will finish this review with the plea in the epigraph for this thought provoking eye opening no pun intended bookIf you can see, look If you can look, observePlease, do Let s try to look past our own blindness and actually SEE. Theodule Augustin RibotBenigne Gagneraux Giovanni Antonio Galli The advantage enjoyed by these blind men was what might be called the illusion of light In fact, it made no difference to them whether it was day or night, the first light of dawn or the evening twilight, the silent hours of early morning or the bustling din of noon, these blind people were for ever surrounded by a resplendent whiteness, like the sun shining through mist For the latter, blindness did not mean being plunged into banal darkness, but living inside a luminous halo We have all experienced blindness Not that long ago I woke up in the middle of the night There was no reassuring red glow of the digital clock by my bed nor the diffused yellow light from the streetlight making slat patterns across my floor The dark was ink vat black, not gray or any other color on the spectrum, dark soul black My eyes ached from holding them open so wide trying to capture any stray light that could reassure me that the wonderful array of cones and rods in my eyes were still functioning Any creak or thump took on so muchsignificance giving my active imagination ample incentive to flash an array of possible horrible scenarios My heart rate climbs I wondered if I ve went blind I think about the room full of books that will have nosignificance to me than a pile of bricks or cement blocks, something I held reverence for that is now less than useless I lay there in various stages of disbelief and reassurances until a sliver of light announced the dawn and my eyes, my beautiful eyes, luxuriated in those first rays of a new day I could see The influenza epidemic of 1918 was one of the most terrifying events to happen to humanity in the 20th century even eclipsing two horrific world wars 50 million people worldwide died suffocating from fluid filled lungs Doctors were baffled, unable to find a cure or slow down the symptoms to allow the human immune system to have a chance The disease had no compassion or any sense of a person s economic situation, rich, poor, young and old all died The average life expectancy in the United States dropped by twelve years And then it just disappeared As if a magic number of dead had been reached Can you imagine the fear that any flu symptoms must have inspired in people for years after the event The Blind Eyes Looked Fine.This book is about such an epidemic An epidemic that spares no one It begins with a man going blind while sitting in his car at a traffic light He is brought to an opthamologist and his trip to see the doctor spreads this contagion at the speed of a prairie fire The opthamologist is in the midst of researching this baffling disease when he goes blind as well The government on the verge of panic rounds up all those infected in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease The wife of the eye doctor packs his suitcase and even though she can still see packs her own clothes as well When the government people come to get him she goes with him They are taken to a vacant mental hospital At first there are only a handful of people and then there are hundreds of people crammed into this facility Soldiers are left to guard them and feed them Assoldiers go blind fears become reality and in one such moment of desperation the soldiers fire into the crowd of blind people The soldiers retreat and the blind are left with dead bodies to bury and spilled food to collectTheir hunger, however, had the strength only to take them three steps forward, reason intervened and warned them that for anybody imprudent enough to advance there was danger lurking in those lifeless bodies, above all, in that blood, who could tell what vapors, what emanations, what poisonous miasmas might not already be oozing forth from the open wounds of the corpses They re dead, they can t do any harm, someone remarked, the intention was to reassure himself and others, but his words made matters worse, it was true that these blind internees were dead, that they could not move, see, could neither stir nor breath, but who can say that this white blindness is not some spiritual malaise, and if we assume this to be the case then the spirits of those blind casualties have never been as free as they are now, released from their bodies, and therefore free to do whatever they like, above all, to do evil, which as everyone knows, has always been the easiest thing to do Any supernatural element, spirits or otherwise take a backseat to living breathing humans when it comes to perpetrating evil A gang of men, empowered by a gun wielding leader, take control of the food All of the internees are asked to bring all their valuables to be assessed and traded for food and water I had to almost laugh at this point because these thugs are trapped in pre blindness thinking What value will jewelry or paper money have with people that can t see A good belt or a pair of shoes or a glass of water or a sandwich are the only things of any real value any Well there is one other thing that will continue to have value Women.The inmates have been split into groups by rooms After the valuables have been exhausted as a bartering tool for food and water the thugs tell the groups that if they want to eat they need to send their women to them Hunger is all consuming When you are hungry you can not think about anything else other than finding food Your body, as part of our survival instinct, makes you very uncomfortable We can all say what we would be capable of doing and not capable of doing when we are sitting in a bar casually munching on free peanuts and pretzels between pints of beer The fact of the matter is most of us have never felt real hunger We have had moments where our stomachs rumble or experienced a headache due to a missed meal, but true hunger, not eating for days hunger we can only speculate about what that is like One man in the group sounding like some of the Republican candidates in this last election saidWhat did it matter if the women had to go there twice a month to give theses men what nature gave them to give I think even the women had no idea what it really would mean to be raped They have all had sex, no blushing virgins among them They were hungry too and after some speculation decide that they need to do this not only to feed themselves, but also their men It is way beyond anything they could even imagine It was horrible and Jose Saramago pulls no punches Being raped by one man is bad enough, but when being raped by several men a woman has become an object, not even an object of desire, but merely a receptacle for lust Being attractive, or smart or any of the things that made men desire her, in the world before blindness, are suddenly immaterial She is faceless, a base unit to be used and abused devoid of the uniqueness that identify all of us beyond being just a male or a female As the world goes blind the wife of the doctor is left unaffected She continues to help where she can, but is reluctant to let everyone know she can see She would be a slave to the group if they ever found out she could still see She breaks out with a group of people all identified by their past professions or by some other identifying marker We never do learn any of their names as if their identities have escaped them with their loss of vision There is a sweet scene when the doctor and his wife first arrive back at their homeThe doctor put his hand into the inside pocket of his new jacket and brought out the keys He held them in mid air, waiting, his wife gently guided his hand towards the keyhole The world is in chaos as blind people stumble everywhere looking for food and shelter It is truly a horrific vision of a world disintegrating and brings home to me just how vulnerable we all are to a pandemic event or the loss of the electrical grid or for those withfanciful terrors a zombie apocalypse Will you kill someone to live Jose SaramagoJose Saramago by keeping the wife of the doctor immune to the disease gives himself a conduit to describe events Without her the novel would have been difficult to write and would have beendifficult for us to read We need vision and if we don t have it ourselves we certainly need someone to provide it for us There are lots of great themes in the novel, exploring the human condition and how we fail ourselves and yet, eventually overcome the most severe circumstances The text is a block of words with few paragraph breaks or markers to help us keep track of who is talking This certainly adds to the difficulty of reading the novel, but I must counsel you to persevere You will come away from the novel knowing you have experienced something, a grand vision of the disintegration of civilization and certainly you will reevaluate what is most important in your life This is a novel that does what a great novel is supposed to do it reveals what we keep hidden from ourselves To see all my latest book and movie reviews visit my blog at You can also like my Facebook page at , ,, , 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Just imagine that you are going about your daily life as you always do It s a normal day nothing out of the ordinary But then, suddenly, without any forewarning, you go completely blind One second seeing the world as you know it, the next experiencing a complete and unending whiteness Then imagine you go to the trusty health professionals so they can get to the bottom of it the doctor doesn t know what s wrong with you, but you re confident he she will figure it out and prescribe accordingly And then the doctor goes blind But not just him everyone you have come into contact with is experiencing the same sudden white blindness The condition spreads and takes hold within a few hours soon this contagious blindness is spreading like wildfire and no one knows how to cure it.This book is so frightening and so realistic Blindness is not an alien concept like monsters and ghosts, neither are contagious diseases So imagine a disease that prompted sudden blindness that spread from one person to another quicker than the common cold This book feels like a story that could happen.One of the main issues readers have with this if they have any is the writing style It s written in huge blocks of text with little punctuation, no quotation marks, and many run on sentences It can get a little disorientating, but I guess that s the end of the world for you I actually found it incredibly effective in creating the air of blind panic that Saramago clearly wanted to impart People fumbling around in the whiteness, hoping no one around means them harm and being powerless to do anything about it if they did.Someone once said You are who you are when no one is watching And in this world, no one is watching Fear reigns and some will choose to exploit the fear or succumb to it I thought it was a frightening and believable portrait of the disintegration of society.Very highly recommended.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira Blindness, Jos SaramagoBlindness Portuguese Ensaio sobre a cegueira, meaning Essay on Blindness is a novel by Portuguese author Jos Saramago It is one of his most famous novels, along with The Gospel According to Jesus Christ and Baltasar and Blimunda In 1998, Saramago received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and Blindness was one of his works noted by the committee when announcing the award 1999 1378 388 9646026702 1379 1380 1381 1383 1384 1385 1386 1389 20 1378 360 9643054748 360 1383 1382 1394 1390 272 1389 394 9786005845185 1392 263 1378 366 1381 1393 420 1394 1385 1386 412 1394 408 1395 376 1391 366 1389 416 1394 368 1389 400 1395 368 1395 362 1392 392 1392 392 1395 362 1394 279 1394 382 1394 415 1395 368 1390 1394 318 1390 420 16 1922 18 2010 1998 1992 1378 22 09 1396 . . 80% , 28 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2015 20 2015 25 2015 . 264 .

About the Author: José Saramago

Jos Saramago Foundation is currently based in Casa dos Bicos, a Portuguese landmark building in Lisbon Saramago s house in Lanzarote is also open to the public.Jos Saramago, together with his wife Pilar, were the subject of the award winning documentary

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