Book Review: Blindness, and the occasional problem with art for art's sake

Hey, fun fact... GoodReads has a publish-blog option! Since I've recently gone on a borrowing spree at my local public library, I figured I'd share my thoughts on the books I've enjoyed.

BlindnessBlindness by José Saramago

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok, about Blindness.

First of all, I loved the premise and I really liked the story. As horrific as it was at points, it seemed very real, very immediate and desperate when I was able to immerse myself in the narrative. Questions - and a real desire to see the protagonist come out of the situation - kept me turning the pages.

That having been said, this was a book I would have preferred to read in one sitting. This is mostly because of the style - minimal dialogue tags/dialogue smashed within a paragraph, etc - that made it difficult to pick up after time away. That device - along with the lack of names, which I thought worked well with the dehumanizing aspect of the story - disappeared from notice after a few pages.

More annoying was the occasional intrusion of the phantom narrator, which seemed to serve nothing more than commentary on the plot (a la Jane Austen style narrating - it doesn't actually forward the plot or shed more light on the situation, it just tells the reader what the author is showing). Page 94 is a great example of where I was reading, and then was suddenly slammed out of the story by a direct address from the narrator.

I think this is a great book with a fascinating story and the potential to drive really compelling discussion about human nature and the ability of literature to amplify aspects of that nature that are both great and horrible. I do offer the caveat, though, that for me, the dedication to "art" - the format, the narrator - made the book harder to read at times, took away from the immediacy of the story, and left me questioning some of Saramago's choices.

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  1. I have this book on my kindle list - sounds like an interesting read.

  2. Let me know what you think when you get to it! :)