José Saramago: Blindness

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José Saramago: Blindness | © Thomas Macho
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José Saramago: Blindness | © Thomas Macho
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José Saramago: Blindness | © Thomas Macho

During the spring lockdown of 2021 I reread José Saramago’s Blindness at my residence in Berlin. The book touched me deeper than Albert Camus' The Pest, which I had read several decades earlier. Saramago’s novel became a loyal companion during the difficult months of the lingering pandemic.

When I read, I highlight only a few sections with the intention not to interfere with potential future rereads because my eyes get drawn to an ›I read persona‹ that has become strange to me. However, in Blindness, I marked up several parts, for instance on P. 155 and beyond – the report on the collapse of public mobility – or on P. 160 and beyond the stories of the blind, who are encapsulated in brutal quarantine, about the things they last saw before their sudden blindness. For instance, the old man with the black eye patch, who describes a picture at a museum that has the effects of a field trip through half of art history and the cities of Europe.

Thomas Macho, Berlin, 18 June 2021