Blindness by José Saramago
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can *almost* slip this book into that enormous category that is zombie-fiction, but alas, no. There are no zombies here.
There are, however, an increasingly large number of people going blind until there is only one left.
Chaos ensues... one heartbreaking step at a time.
Simple concept, of course, but in this case, it is brilliantly executed. The writing is clear and transforms us every step of the way from our modern society into a cold cinder of civilization, with the fall of humanity experienced first-hand and in great detail. It's no gimmick of a novel.
It's heartfelt. The characters scramble by their fingernails as they degrade into offal-smeared wretches, and all the while they still try to hold on to decency even while sickness and the collapse of all civilization ensues. Heartbreaking.
When I first started reading this, I assumed it was going to be something of an offshoot from that great classic, The Day of the Triffids, where just as much devastation happens when most of humanity goes blind as from the man-eating plants that gobble them up, only this brings us much closer to the complete hell without a commentary on niche species and survival of the fittest. Indeed, we bear witness to every single degradation that mankind can inflict on itself, from suicide, murder, rape, and apathy.
I'm an honest optimist. I actually see a lot of hope in this book, but I'm not going to kid anyone here... this is a harsh one.
It's also one of those kinds of novels that outdoes itself. It's not a simple dystopia. It's an exemplary one. Hell, it probably should be on the top of all the lists if you call yourself a fan of the genre. :)
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