*The following information applies to the English softcover edition (the novel was originally published in Portuguese in 2004).*
Author: Jose Saramago
Published: April 2007
Rating: 4 stars
I made a lot of little notes on this one, just notes without thoughts really: There wasn’t an obvious link to Blindness until one of the ministers, or somebody, blatantly compares the blank ballots to the time when everyone went blind, and his comparison causes a stir. I noticed one reference to a country, with a capital (!), and that was Portugal. It’s always been pretty clearly implied (to me, at least, so I’m not sure how much the text actually does imply this) that the story is set in Lisbon, but this was the first instance I could recall between either novel of a reference to the country (though it has been awhile since I read Blindness). The increased significance of periods in a novel where commas rule (ex. pg 114 near the bottom). Passages I liked: The interrogation pg. 37 and 38 and the how it was handled follow-up pg. 46), the PM’s plan as described on pg 66. Lines I liked:
The hour of departure, which would be simultaneous, that is, the same for everyone, was three o’clock in the morning, a time when only the seriously insomniac are still tossing and turning in their beds and saying prayers to the god hypnos, the son of night and twin brother of thanatos, to help them in their affliction by dropping on their poor, bruised, eyelids the sweet balm of the poppy. (pg 70)
…it would be as well to explain that the use of the word blanker a few lines earlier was neither accidental nor fortuitous, nor was it a slip of the fingers on the computer keyboard, and it certainly isn’t a neologism that the narrator has hastily invented in order to fill a gap. (pg 106)
You kept your sight when everyone else was blind (pg. 218, pointedly gets the message of the novel across, I thought).
The ending felt like a wake-up slap in the face, even though I was expecting something like it. I was pretty shaken up. I took a little bit after I finished the book to process what Saramago might have been trying to say, what might have happened after the book finished. (This paragraph is purposefully ambiguous to avoid spoilers..haha as if I need to worry about spoiling this for someone). And. Blah. I’m sleepy. This has been a lazy ‘review’…Time for bed now.