A fantastic book and a deserving all-time classic. A book that is completely haunting in its intensity…not easily forgotten after reading it. The book deals with an epidemic of blindness that sweeps across all (or almost all) humanity with terrifying speed. Saramago clearly researched the subject of blindness in great depth and it would be interesting to know how far (and for what length of time) he temporarily experienced it.
The simplest tasks become terrifyingly daunting: if you were instantly struck blind even just a mile from your home how sure are you that you could find your way back to your house and family by feel alone?
More than blindness the book deals with the collapse of society, with victims regressing at various times to bands of murderous rapist thugs and the vast majority of people turning into nomadic bands of urban hunter-gatherers.
This book was recommended to me by a friend in Sao Paulo and I ordered it (used) through Amazon so that it was waiting at home when I got back between trips. I took it on a trip to Ghana but was too busy to get around to reading it during the month there. I started reading it on a flight to Sydney and – it is completely ‘un-put-downable’ – finished it during a road-trip up the East Coast, at Noosa Heads. I left it in the book exchange at Colonial Village YHA Campsite in Hervey Bay (near Fraser Island). Hope it made a few good miles onward from here with a new owner.
Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.
Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?
This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.
More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.
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