I have been “going around” this book for a number of years now, saying I would read it but not actually doing it. But two things happened that led to me reading it now. And I am so glad that I am!
As I mentioned in the past, I read The Cave by Saramago a couple of years ago. Its a very good book with a powerful message (what an ending!) but extremely slow moving. There are endless detailed descriptions of clay figures and of course, Saramago’s signature style of pages of run on sentences. I read it in Hebrew and it took me a long time to read.
I kept saying that now wasn’t a good time to take on the commitment of reading another Saramago.
Then, in July, following my husband’s recommendation, I read Saramago’s “The Elephant’s Journey” and rediscovered Saramago’s magic.
The final push was waiting for me in the Readers Corner (where people leave books for others to take for free) at the library. A copy of “Blindness” in perfect condition. In fact it looks as if I’m the first to read it!
If that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is!
I was amazed at how much “action” there is in this book, especially in the beginning chapters. Not comparable to the pace of the events and the potters in “The Cave”. Each chapter seems written as if in one breath so I’ve changed my reading habits for this book. I like to read books (as opposed to other reading material, such as The New Yorker”) before going to sleep but I simply cannot stop in the middle of a chapter. So I read one chapter a day right after school.
This turned out to be a good policy in regards to the content of the book as well. I’ve read half the book and reading the description of events (and filth + smells!!) that follow when an unnamed place is engulfed in blindness is certainly not easy reading and nor are these things I want to think about before closing my eyes at night. Very powerful social commentary!
In any case, without having watched the movie I strongly urge everyone to read the book and not settle for the movie. Saramag’s gift was with words and his way of telling it makes the tale what it is. I read quite a few reviews of the movies and they are unanimously negative. Inmy opinion it was a mistake to try and turn a book by Saramago into a film.