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Blindness by José Saramago Or a nightmare in book form

So this book has been lying in my TBR for a looooong time. Pretty much till I forgot why it was I even wanted to read it. Then one of my Goodreads reading groups decided to pick it up, and I decided, hey, why not?

I didn’t know the book would be so dark and so hard to read. I kept putting it down, I have to say, reading this book was almost torture up to a certain point. But I did get through it, and now I don’t even know – do I recommend it? I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but.. Should you read it?

Which is why I’ve compiled this checklist here.

Do not read this book if you are
– having a good day (unless you prefer to stop being in said state)
– suicidal (too risky for that particular group)
– depressed (in risk of joining the above group)
– sensitive (need I explain?)
– hopeful (yeah)
– a woman (just trust me.)
– you just want to keep your sanity/peace of mind in general.

Do read this, if:
– you think your life is currently too good and needs a tune-up
– you are masochistic
– you want to learn about the dark nature of society and the world
– you want to find out about your darkest nightmares or challenge the ones you have already acquired through living life
– you have nerves of steel and nothing can move you whatsoever
– you have the curiosity of the cat from the proverb

Exceptions:
– if you are one of those annoying righteous people who ruin everyone’s day with their insistent positivity and sickly over the top optimism, you should read this and it would serve you right. But I don’t think you are like that. Healthy optimists are not included in this group. However, feel free to recommend this book to that annoying happy vegan mommy friend on your Facebook that keeps taunting you with her perfect wedding/baby/beautiful smile posts.

That said, you probably do understand what story we are talking about here. First of all, let me say, I didn’t quite enjoy this book. (Obvious yet?) But not because it was bad or poorly written. It was written well. It’s just terrifying, that’s all. Terrifying without being an actual horror story. Which is even worse. It just shows you the darkest depths humanity can plunge in, and at the same time tragedies that almost can’t be helped. Fear in the depths of your soul. Primal fear, even.

Although to be honest, the second part of the book is a real touchie, when everything lets up and changes, when the characters live past their disappointment and cope with the tragedy. But most readers will not reach this part of the book – it’s well past the half mark, and things up to that point are a darkest nightmare.

This book took me ages to read. Particularly because I was trying to follow most of the recommendations I stated above about when NOT to read it so I wouldn’t ruin my mood (yeah, I ignored the woman one).

So… I’m glad I got this one out of the way. Now I know. But then, I kind of also wish I didn’t.

And the weirdest part is that I think I will read the next one.

4 thoughts on “Blindness by José Saramago Or a nightmare in book form

  1. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book (it was on NYPL’s “best of” sci-fi list a while back, too) but I am WAY too much of a scaredy cat to read it. Hahaha. Books about horrible plagues are disturbing enough at the best of times but this premise gives me the wiggins. Hopefully you enjoy the second book more (or um, enjoy it)!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…#RRSciFiMonth: Invisible Planets by Ken LiuMy Profile

    1. “Enjoy it” is what I’ll aim for 😀 I’ve read dystopian books, but THIS.. dang. Yeah, most people I know should leave this book alone, I should have done it too 😀

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