Four years after a bizarre blindness plague hits the capital, the political arena is thrown into turmoil when election day is marked by an unprecedented turnout of blank ballots and rebellious acts that prompt a state of emergency declaration. By the Nobel Prize for Literature-winning author of
Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago returns to the unnamed city of his brilliant BLINDESS, and conjures up a surreal and subversive tale of political insubordination. The novel opens on an election day, but no one is showing up at the polls. Then, in a rush, the populace arrives, but more than 70% of the voters turn in blank ballots.
The first half of the novel revolves around the baffled and paranoid government as it grapples with this sudden silent revolution--the government declares a state of emergency, seals off the city, even stages a terrorist attack, hoping to rile the passive resistance. Then, midway through the novel, the action shifts; the government decides that an eye doctor's wife, the same woman who retained her sight during the ocular plague in Saramago's previous novel BLINDNESS, must somehow be connected to the mysterious blank ballots. A superintendent and several detectives are put in charge of the investigation, and as SEEING becomes more plot-driven, the absurdist satire gives way to dark revelations and shadowy truths.
Saramago writes with the parabolic starkness of Kafka and Camus, but in the labyrinthine style of Calvino, and Borges. His prose lacks conventional punctuation, his characters have no names, and his sentences often run to pages in length. The result can be frustrating, but readers who acquiesce to his eccentric style open themselves up to a world of insight, tragedy, and blistering wit.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Disasters, Literary
- April 9, 2007
- April 9, 2007
- Jose Saramago