Jose Saramago’s Nobel Prize winning novel, Blindness, does little to camouflage man’s self-seeking and essentially evil nature. Instead, “man” is observed through the crosshairs of an increasingly devastating lens. As the novel begins, citizens of an unidentified city lose their eyesight. Instead of darkness, however, this seemingly contagious condition leaves its victims in a state of white blindness that soon exposes the lengths each individual will adopt to ensure their own survival. Throughout this exploration, Saramago focuses on a group of seven individuals who are led by the novel’s redeeming character. With the loss of vision, man’s carnal nature is set loose, making way for unthinkable and unpunished acts of violence. This novel is not for the weak of heart, or stomach as Saramago leads his reader amidst the stench of his imagined landscape and helplessly amongst the group of dependents. Overall, the novel is well written; however, its subject matter makes for a difficult read. Blindness is not the kind of novel you curl up with on the couch in an attempt to escape, nor the type that will lead to a relaxing night’s sleep. I would not recommend reading Blindness after Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I made this mistake.
On October 3, 2008, Saramago’s novel will hit the big screen.