Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Mom Reviews - "Blindness" by Jose Saramago

My parent's owned a bookshop for 24 years. It was a beautiful bookshop located in Santa Barbara (then expanding to San Luis Obispo). It was called The Earthling. The Earthling was one of the greatest independent bookshops in the United States standing strong next to icons like Powell's and Book Soup. It supported local authors, local publishers and never censored anything. It was a community in and of it self. We had an amazing staff, the first bookstore coffee shop and we entertained some of the world's most famous authors on a regular basis. But what made The Earthling so unique, was my mother. My mother is one of those people who can read a 600 page book in a single evening. She has a voracious appetite for literature as well as the knack to recommend just what you were looking for. If you say you liked one book, she will tell you what to read next. If you have no idea what you want, she'll have an answer for that too. She had a gift. She's like a book suggestion Santa.

Since my parents are now retired and my mother spends her days volunteering at charity book sales and working for her local library, I asked her to share some of her advice and recommendations with us. So with that, I would like to welcome you to the first installment of... "My Mom Reviews..." This week -

Blindness by Jose Saramago
Reviewed by Penny Davies

I just finished reading a masterpiece and I am still shaking. I didn't want to read 'Blindness' by Jose Saramago, but I admire the woman who recommended it for our book group and have never been disappointed with the books she selects.

Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his body of work right after 'Blindness' was released and is translated from the Portuguese.

The book takes place in an unnamed country, people go blind and are "put away" in an old asylum. One group who has had contact with each other, stays together in a ward of the asylum. However, one woman has retained her sight...and so begins the story.

It is depressing, it is shocking, it is maddening. But, I could not put it down. I read and read through the night, wondering, what would happen next. It is brilliantly written and I promise, if you read the entire book, you will not be sorry.

A movie was made of "Blindness", but I did not see it. I was told it wasn't good. The discussion at our book group was really interesting. It went on for two hours while people talked about how it would feel to go suddenly blind. You may be turned off by the subject, but you will be surprised how excellent this book is.

I give it five (of five) stars.

Thanks Mom.

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