"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bookmarks - Blindness

Blindness, written by José Saramago is copyright 1995, though I read the English translation copyright 1997 (Prof. Juan Sager). First published in English by the Harvill Press, and originally written in Portuguese.

A man suddenly goes blind in the middle of an intersection and sets off a chain of events in which everyone (or very nearly) in the world is going blind for no apparent reason.
Camps are set up to quarantine the White Blindness and we are in the first of these following the story of the man's wife, the only (known) person who has not gone blind.
An apocalyptic novel as we watch the degradation of human dignity and decency, as well as society.

I don't know whether it is because this book is translated, or that Portuguese writing is inhereantly difficult (though I will go with the former), but this book was a chore to read.
The idioms and phrases (as would be expected) were unfamiliar to me, the spacing was just wrong.
I don't care what you are trying to prove, an exchange of dialogue should not be done all in one sentence.

Imagine two people talking:
"Hello, it is nice to see you."
"And you too, a lovely day we are having."
"Quite! And did you catch the game on the telly last night?"
"No, I'm afraid I missed it. Who won?"

Logical. It switches back and forth between the two speakers with clear distinctions, even without explicit he-said she-saids (though that would be nice, as it can get confusing it someone were to pause and not say anything, throwing off the balance.)

But in the story it is written such:
Hello, it is nice to see you, And you too, a lovely day we are having, Quite, and did you catch the game on the telly last night, No, I'm afraid I missed it, who won

And this will go on for (quite literally) a page or more.
Nothing to break the speakers except capitals(sometimes) and commas. No periods, no quotation marks, no spacing.
I think the most annoying times are when (as shown above) someone has a comma in their speech. Did the person change, or just part of the sentence?

Regardless of these technical issues, the story was engaging (enough for me to keep fighting the book) and was well written (as far as pacing and plot points go).

~*~ Also has been made into a major motion picture, if you did not know.

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