Paced reading

Slate had a recommended reading list a few weeks ago, and I put several of them on reserve at the library. I got “Blindness” by Jose Saramango recently, and it’s the kind of book where I need to pace myself.

It’s an incredibly difficult book to read, due to its structure and subject matter. The author does not like periods very much, opting for non-traditional comma usage. He also does not use proper nouns, instead referring to characters by title (i.e. “the doctor” “the wife” “girl with dark glasses” etc). You have to pay a lot of attention to what is going on in each sentence and paragraph because the subject and speaker change so frequently without a lot of strong visual cues

The subject matter is very dark. From the back of the book:  “A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” which spares no on. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element hold everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women.  There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers…through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing…Blindness is a powerful portrayal of man’s worst appetites and weaknesses — and man’s ultimately exhilarating spirit.” Kind of like Lord of the Flies, only replace children with blind people. It’s good to know that there might be a happier ending, but I’m 1/3 through and I’m definitely not at the worst parts yet.

It’s also a Nobel prize winner in literature. Heavy.

I am a very fast reader, and generally have a hard time putting a book down — I typically go for 90-120 mins in a row without stopping. But with “Blindness” I can only read a chapter or 30 mins at a time.

In other news, I will be without internet from Wednesday until at least Tuesday (and occupied by no fewer than five out of town visitors), so Kelly will have to post numerous updates from her trip to Washington or something else to keep y’all occupied.

-Katie*

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