Blindness is a novel of the senses and, more importantly, what happens when one of those senses is lost. Set in a city besieged by an unexplainable plague causing citizens to spontaneously lose their sight, the story follows a small group of characters as they try to understand the new world they are forced to navigate. Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago turns a microscope on his characters as they move from their normal life to the chaos and terror of the quarantine ward where the first victims of the mysterious whiteness are held, and eventually to the streets of a desolate city which has lost nearly all of its citizens, all in a search for understanding. The biggest draw to Blindness is Saramago's prose style. While it may seem overwhelming at first, lacking many paragraph breaks and moving freely through various subjects and speakers, eventually it becomes unavoidable that each page is filled to the brim with poetically drawn and extensively detailed description. The reader is forced into every situation-made to feel the desperation of the characters and deal with the struggles that each newly blind person encounters. Resisting the temptation to write an action-packed screenplay-ready novel of survival, the story turns instead to the inner struggles of humanity, asking the biggest questions of the smallest moments of crisis.
With an epidemic of "white blindness" sweeping New York City, the criminal element stalks the city, robbing and raping, while one eyewitness leads a group of seven strangers through the afflicted city streets to safety. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.