a blog with cultural bulimia.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

the freda book club ii

mrs ff, of delray beach, fl. asked me to suggest a book for her club when she was visiting ny last week.

my suggestion:

by Jose Saramago
1998 Nobel Literature Prize Winner
"In an unnamed city in an unnamed country, a man sitting in his car waiting for a traffic light to change is suddenly struck blind. But instead of being plunged into darkness, this man sees everything white, as if he 'were caught in a mist or had fallen into a milky sea.' A Good Samaritan offers to drive him home (and later steals his car); his wife takes him by taxi to a nearby eye clinic where they are ushered past other patients into the doctor's office. Within a day the man's wife, the taxi driver, the doctor and his patients, and the car thief have all succumbed to blindness. As the epidemic spreads, the government panics and begins quarantining victims in an abandoned mental asylum--guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone who tries to escape. So begins Portuguese author José Saramago's gripping story of humanity under siege, written with a dearth of paragraphs, limited punctuation, and embedded dialogue minus either quotation marks or attribution. At first this may seem challenging, but the style actually contributes to the narrative's building tension, and to the reader's involvement.