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Eseu despre luciditate Powerful Sinister Cynical Idiosyncratic Sagacious Fun Modern, imaginative, well written This guy s got game For many good reasons, besides being a brilliant dark and dense piece of text, this novel seems very actual to my state of mind Not precisely within the same circumstances and effects thank, god but still it feels to go in line with some of the events that happened in my own country in the last 30 years since we are again a free democracy and I felt very strange about it To be perfectly honest I feel as if I was lost in the middle of a minefield But, is there a reason to be worried Well, For many good reasons, besides being a brilliant dark and dense piece of text, this novel seems very actual to my state of mind Not precisely within the same circumstances and effects thank, god but still it feels to go in line with some of the events that happened in my own country in the last 30 years since we are again a free democracy and I felt very strange about it To be perfectly honest I feel as if I was lost in the middle of a minefield But, is there a reason to be worried Well, yes, if looking at the streets, you see how peaceful and quiet the city is because, well, that s what worries me, there is a city with no one in charge, with no government, no security, no police and no one seems to care And all because it is presumed by a handful of people from the government actuallyor less, mainly by the interior minister that just a single woman is capable to put in place a diabolical plot that had caused the government s current state of humiliation, having forced it to bow his head and kneel, which was rather seen initially as a strategic move Like his other most important novels, this one tells us also a great deal about the craft of fiction and the demands of creative prose, and, again, Saramago did it strongly However, I had a bit the feeling that even the narrator had never been quite sure how to bring the story to a successful conclusion.This is an extraordinary tale of a city which, en masse, decided to return blank ballot papers, and which is linked with a case of blindness that hit the same city some four years ago of course, I need to read Blindness, too, which is actually the first before the short sightedness depicted in Seeing , and made all the people outcasts from the world The government is keen to solve the puzzle by suggesting that the first blindness helps to explain this second blindness casting blank ballot papers , and both might be explained by the existence and possibly the actions, of one person What can beabsurd than that Well, this might have been written about another country and another century, under a state of siege, abandoned by its own government and surrounded by its own army, who knows However, the explanation is well inserted into the story somewhere in a paragraph, and, of course, is something that we all are familiar with the people who cast the blank votes had not done so in order to bring down the system and to take power, they wouldn t know what to do with it anyway, they had voted the way they voted because they were disillusioned and could find no other way of making it clear just how disillusioned they were, they could have staged a revolution, but then many people would undoubtedly have died, something they would never have wanted, all their lives they had patiently placed their vote in the ballot box, and the results were there for all to see, This isn t democracy, far from it Well, I haven t missed any election day, and, despiteor less favorably expressed opinions, I have always thought it is most important to cast my vote and not to let it die blank Having performed this civic duty not punishable by law in Romania in case of non presentation before the ballot box, by the way , it doesn t mean that I ve always been satisfied by the results and of the state of current affairs but, still, I thought and still think it is a right that I am entitled to exercise fully and free willing.This is a great fable that the narrator is creating Apart from the first chapter, in which there are a few careful brush strokes applied to the area of the polling station, everything else, which is quite a lot, has passed as if the characters in the story inhabited an entirely insubstantial world, were indifferent to the comfort or discomfort of the places in which they found themselves, and did nothing but talk By the way, what else to do in a free democracy I feel very sorry for the conclusion applied for the police superintendent and for the woman who was allegedly in charge with this subversive action of destroying the normal pace of existence in a capital of the world, even if we don t know eventually in which world Superintendent, Yes, There s a question I d like to ask, but I m not sure I dare, Ask it, please, Why are you doing this for us, why are you helping us, Because of something I read in a book, years ago now, and which I had forgotten, but which has come back to me in the last few days, What was that, We are born, and at that moment, it is as if we had signed a pact for the rest of our life, but a day may come when we will ask ourselves Who signed this on my behalf, Fine, thought provoking words, what s the book called, You know I m ashamed to say it, but I can t remember, Never mind, even if you can t remember anything else, not even the title, Not even the name of the author, Those words, which probably no one else, at least not in that precise form, would ever have been said before, had the good fortune not to have lost each other, they had someone to bring them together, and who knows, perhaps the world would be a slightly better place if we were able to gather up a few of the words that are out there wandering around alone, Oh, I doubt the poor despised creatures would ever find each other, No, probably not, but dreaming is cheap, it doesn t cost any money Set in an unnamed city, once again Jose Saramago creates an impossible sitiuation in order to write about the human condition Jose Saramago was a humble genius, one of the rare few writers who could talk about the trival and mundane and make them seem so magical and important.As usual, he sets out to explore and joust with preconceived universal truths and every day notions, and exposes them, flips them on their heads, re affirms familiar and age old truths because in his own words But truths Set in an unnamed city, once again Jose Saramago creates an impossible sitiuation in order to write about the human condition Jose Saramago was a humble genius, one of the rare few writers who could talk about the trival and mundane and make them seem so magical and important.As usual, he sets out to explore and joust with preconceived universal truths and every day notions, and exposes them, flips them on their heads, re affirms familiar and age old truths because in his own words But truths need to be repeated many times so that they don t, poor things, lapse into oblivion and even recalls to my own memory something I read by the controversial novelist and critic John Gardner last year What the best fiction does is make powerful affirmations of familiar truthsthe trivial fiction which times filters out is that which either makes wrong affirmations or else makes affirmations in a squeaky little voice If the shoe fits This time around in the nameless city, 83% of the population have cast blank votes in an otherwise well run, organised democratic nation, as shown at the beginning of the novel This novel acts like an inverted Kafka piece this time the bureaucracy and snivelling politicians are having the nightmare.The idea explored here, and it is a novel of ideas, is what would happen if democracy failed Casting a blank vote is a perfectly legal thing to do and since the novel has no secret eventually revealed conspirator behind the blank votes other than Saramago himself it is quite clear that it is not important how the masses managed to simultaneously think and act upon the radical action of casting a blank vote Saramago is concerned with the aftermath, the ramifications and gives him a unique canvass to paint his wise thoughts onto.The first half of the novel is bitingly sarcastic as he spends entire chapters attacking goverment protocal, endless ill defined jargon and just seems to have fun trivialising and mocking government hierarchy the powers that be spend unusual amounts of time putting each other in place and correcting each other s words This is something Saramago does in all his works that I have read thus far, he is fascinated with linguistics, I mean, how can people lay siege to a city that they are already in In Blindness, Saramago showed how ordinary people would resort to barbarism when everything failed, this time around it is the government The Interior Minister and his sub ordinates who act inhumanely spying, imprisonment, interrogation, andwhich ends in them evacuating the city, thus leaving the amusingly named Blankers to their own ends It goes like this, the city s inhabitants get by fine and the government behaves worse and worse.In typical Saramago style Style is imperfection says Orhan Pamuk in his novel My Name Is Red he writes sentences that run on for large paragraphs, sometimes even entire pages, he only uses commas and full stops, the occasional parentheses,never an exclamtion mark as he is too gentle an author to do that The characters are named by their job titles and position within the hierarchy When we are born, when we enter this world, he explains, it is as if we signed a pact for the rest of our life, but a day may come when we will ask ourselves Who signed this on my behalf, well, I asked myself that question Those are the words uttered by the hero of the novel, who starts off as a specially trained police inflitrator, who goes into the city to find out the cause of the mass blank voting, everyone is baffled and desperate, and they decide to blame the heroine from Saramago s novel Blindness This is a loose sequel of sorts, don t be fooled who kept her sight while everyone else went blind It is only after some time that our hero the superintendent ponders and utters those words quoted above that he decides to do the right thing and brings all the information he has collected about the case and the government s plan to scape goat the woman from the previous disaster to the media who help expose their plans.There isn t really a resolution to the story in any conventional story telling fashion, and it s worth noting that the original titles for this novel and blindness translated literally into english would be An Essay On Blindness and An Essay On Seeing I d recommend this novel to anyone who loves language, disgressions on just about all the usual worldly topics that Saramago talks about, and all the metaphysical and philosophical questions that he asks and ponders so well His comments on religion, faith and gods are always a treat to read, so insightful historically and joyously, pointedly funny Seeing is a sequel to Blindness and it is essential to read Blindness first Blindness introduces the character the doctor s wife who is one of the great characters in literature You have to read about her in Blindness before you read about her in Seeing, where she remains a wonderful character, but less fully drawn.I think Blindness is a great book, a classic, and it has stayed with me since I put it down So, I resisted reading Seeing That s just me And, through 70 pages of Seeing I was u Seeing is a sequel to Blindness and it is essential to read Blindness first Blindness introduces the character the doctor s wife who is one of the great characters in literature You have to read about her in Blindness before you read about her in Seeing, where she remains a wonderful character, but less fully drawn.I think Blindness is a great book, a classic, and it has stayed with me since I put it down So, I resisted reading Seeing That s just me And, through 70 pages of Seeing I was unimpressed Sometimes Saramago can be difficult and I don t just mean his funky punctuation It starts out as a Kafka esque satire of government and politics, and that can be pretentious But slowly, certain characters started to develop an interior minister as the epitome of evil and a police superintendent torn between his job responsibilities and what he knows to be right The pawn in this inevitable conflict is, of course, the doctor s wife There are many other characters, all nuanced, all symbolic, all important and memorable Beware the man with the blue tie with white dots Run from him And, I do not have a dog But if I did have one, I would name him Constant, and he would take away my tears This novel takes place four years after Blindness in same capital city On a rainy day of nationwide local elections there is almost no turn out in the Capital until 4 when en masse there is 100% turnout Having initially panicked the authorities congratulate themselves on this unprecedented display of civil duty only to find that 75% of the ballots are blank Confused and angry the government orders a re ballot a week later, this time there seems no order to the voting but 83% of the ballot This novel takes place four years after Blindness in same capital city On a rainy day of nationwide local elections there is almost no turn out in the Capital until 4 when en masse there is 100% turnout Having initially panicked the authorities congratulate themselves on this unprecedented display of civil duty only to find that 75% of the ballots are blank Confused and angry the government orders a re ballot a week later, this time there seems no order to the voting but 83% of the ballots are blank.Despite no crime having being committed, the government of the party on the right regards this exercise of their rights by the capitals citizens as a direct assault on democracy Despite rejecting the ideas of a foreign or anarchist plot they are convinced there must be some form of conspiracy and the refusal of the capital s citizens to explain themselves only increases their belief that something must be done The government and the compliant media attempt to provoke some form ofviolent protest nothing seems to happen The first part of the book concentrates on the attempts of the authorities particularly the resentful for being figurehead President, the Prime Minister and the conspiratorial Minister of the Interior They place the capital under a state of siege interrogate 500 suspects identified from comments made in the ballot queues place spies in the capital who also attempt to act as agent provocateurs and eventually withdraw from the Capital with all army and police and place a ring around the city believing anarchy will result and the people will ask to reembrace the paternalism of the state The Interior Minister also plants a bomb, which was designed to be blamed on the subversives but only provokesprotests in the capital and causes the Head of the City Council to resign The 17% of voters particularly those of the Party on the Right try and evacuate but this fails when it becomes clear there is no way of identifying that none of them are Blankers Expecting trouble when they return back to the Capital, the Cabinet is shocked when the Blankers quietly come out and help them put all their things back in their houses.The second part of the book is very different The Prime Minister decides to reinvoke the taboo memories of the Blindness plague and introduce a series of academic and media discussions of it before then claiming that the blank ballot papers are a new plague The President insists on an air drop of his own views on this and it provokes the first Blind man from Blindness to write to him denouncing the Doctor s wife who he mentions was a murderer as being the only person not to go blind four years ago and insinuating that she could be linked to the new plague.The interior minister finds this hypothesis while not compelling a satisfactory one for his purposes and sends a Superintendent and two other policemen to prove there is a conspiracy involving the characters from Blindness After meeting them all, the Superintendent realises the Doctor s Wife was a remarkable woman and the original Blind Man a swine and refuses to co operate The media publicly denounces the conspirators but the Superintendent has the story of what he was asked to do published in aleft wing paper The Interior Minister arranges the assassination of the Superintendent The Prime Minister sacks him as a result but then as the story ends the same assassin kills the Doctor s wife and the Dog of Tears.As in Double the narrator intervenesin the story and talks directly to the reader or comments on the proceedings Most noticeably when seeming to admit that the device of linking the story to Blindness by way of the denunciation letter was introduced to give asatisfactory ending to the allegory of the blank ballots Interestingly this device also gives asatisfactory ending to Blindness which can be criticised for seeming overly long with a very detailed narrative but with no real sense of purpose.The themes of the book and Saramago s anti right stance areobvious than in Blindness partly due to the narrator s comments but also due to the interactions between the different ministers in the government particularly the Interior Minister who regards innocence or guilt as a choice of the security forces rather than an objective truth The story has his usual devices dialogue style, characters having no names and beinglike devices particularly in the first part as the narrator at one point admits The second part comes in well just as the story in the first part seems to belike Blindness a detailed and complex narrative that could also have been a powerful short story, and as result is starting to get overly long I ve read about half of Saramago s books now This one is the sequel to Blindness, which was by far my least favorite brutal, mundane, and mostly pointless I much preferred Seeing I would not consider Blindness a prerequisite either Of course lots of people disagree with me and loved BlindnessI finished this book continually astonished with the author s ability to put words together but still wondering what it was all about He narrates like an abstract painter or a dancer, or a mag I ve read about half of Saramago s books now This one is the sequel to Blindness, which was by far my least favorite brutal, mundane, and mostly pointless I much preferred Seeing I would not consider Blindness a prerequisite either Of course lots of people disagree with me and loved BlindnessI finished this book continually astonished with the author s ability to put words together but still wondering what it was all about He narrates like an abstract painter or a dancer, or a magician there is great beauty and form in the details, but the big picture might not be obvious Kandinsky I suspect the book would hold up to arigorous reading though very entertainingly, Saramago, via his narrator, seems to suggest that it won t and i might reread it to see how muchi seeThe book progresses though a series of protagonists living through a somewhat farcical event a subconscious revolution about what exactly, no one can say People in a particular city suddenly start behaving in a strangely collective manner They simultaneously turn out to the polls in great numbers to cast blank ballots, casting the government into panic and disarray After the government withdraws as part of a strategy to teach the citizens a lesson and bring them back to their senses, the city does not fall into chaos as anticipated, but rather continues on as usual the bureaucratic bungling behind the scenes would be hilarious if it wasn t so believable high handed and immoral actions are the means necessary to restore the sacred democracy It is like most of the people are experiencing some kind of subconscious mini awakening Each protagonist comes to question their role and make huge life changes surprisingly naturally, as if they are seeing clearly for the first time It is the final protagonist, the police detective, who manages to verbalize his experience When we are born, when we enter this world, it is as if we signed a pact for the rest of our life, but a day may come when we will ask ourselves Who signed this on my behalf.I love this quote We are all thrown into this somewhat absurd world and pretending it is normal We don t ask to be born, we don t know why we are here, and so we embrace the status quo to give some order to the chaos Even a repressive status quo is better than the truth because it tells us who we are and what the rules are.He questions the life he s been signed up for and rejects it He chooses a new path even though it is at odds with his past Even though his choice is sure to destroy his career and put him in serious danger, he makes it calmly Seeing isaccessible then his Siege of Lisbon seriously brilliant unlike anything i ve ever read , but maybe lacking the coherency and structure of his Gospel According to Jesus a great read, especially if you are familiar with the new testament and are open to a little blasphemy All in all, a highly recommended read, but those other 2 are still my favorites Harder to get into than Blindness There just isn t a whole lot of action in the first hundred pages of Seeing A lot of pontification about the electoral process and the mechanics of politics, but nothing much really happens I feel like Saramago was a bit too in love with his satire for a bit too long in the narrative, but that s just my take It does pick up after that, and comes to a conclusion that is probably right for the book, but one that I didn t exactly love HERE BE SPOILERS B Harder to get into than Blindness There just isn t a whole lot of action in the first hundred pages of Seeing A lot of pontification about the electoral process and the mechanics of politics, but nothing much really happens I feel like Saramago was a bit too in love with his satire for a bit too long in the narrative, but that s just my take It does pick up after that, and comes to a conclusion that is probably right for the book, but one that I didn t exactly love HERE BE SPOILERS Basically, Seeing took all that I loved about Blindness and shattered it like the skull of the poor inspector when the man with the blue tie shoots him in the back of the head My favorite character, the optometrist s wife, gets treated with the same callous disregard I know Saramago is telling us that life sucks and the government sucks and people suck, and if they don t, if they are actually decent, then the world will find a way to grind them under its boot heel, but it was disappointing I m not averse to sad, tragic endings Jude The Obscure is one of my favorite books But with Seeing, there was almost none of the beauty even in the midst of utter misery that Blindness contained Seeing left me feeling hopeless and pessimistic about humanity as a whole Maybe that s the way I should be seeing things, pardon the pun, but it didn t make for satisfying reading Romanul Eseu despre luciditate debuteaza cu un scrutin general in capitala unei tari imaginare, dar perfect obisnuite La sfirsitul zilei, se numara voturile si reiese ca aproximativ saptezeci la suta dintre electori nu alesesera pe cineva Duminica urmatoare oamenii sint din nou chemati sa voteze si, de data aceasta, numarul de voturi fara optiune depaseste optzeci la suta Membrii guvernului intra in panica, o molima pare sa le submineze demersurile politice si, daca este asa, atunci aceasta trebuie anihilata Incercind sa afle care ar putea fi explicatia unui asemenea fenomen, ei incep o vasta operatiune politieneasca, culminind, in lipsa de rezultate, cu instaurarea starii de asediu si retragerea guvernului din capitala provizoriu, sustin mai marii, pina cind populatia capitalei va reveni la sentimente mai bune in ceea ce priveste puterea politica, cea despre care se presupune ca ar trebui sa i reprezinte Izolati si lipsiti de indrumare, cetatenii capitalei au reactii dintre cele mai imprevizibile Those looking for a sequel to Blindness will be surprised While Seeing carries with it some of the same characters as Blindness, it is an entirely different beast of a book Rather than the touching tale of survival that made its predecessor so acclaimed, Seeing is satire of the highest quality.How does a government respond when 83% of voters in the capital cast blank votes With typical heavy handedness and increasing degrees of ridiculousness There must be a conspiracy at work, the governmen Those looking for a sequel to Blindness will be surprised While Seeing carries with it some of the same characters as Blindness, it is an entirely different beast of a book Rather than the touching tale of survival that made its predecessor so acclaimed, Seeing is satire of the highest quality.How does a government respond when 83% of voters in the capital cast blank votes With typical heavy handedness and increasing degrees of ridiculousness There must be a conspiracy at work, the government thinks That much of the population can not just spontaneously decide not to vote for the existing parties It becomes very clear at a very early point that someone s head must be placed on a pike to placate the needs of the authorities, it then becomes a guessing game as to who will pay the price.The scenes that take place in the Prime Minister s cabinet early in the book are some of the funniest that I ve ever read The constant bickering between the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister reminded me of Stanley Kubrick s Dr Strangelove and, just as in the film, you know that the result of this infighting will mean nothing good for the common person Oh, Jos Saramago I do not know whether to feelhope or despair Seeing was slow to get going, in part because, at first, there were really no characters I suspect this was intentional, as the nameless people of the novel only emerge and become interesting as their consciences awaken and they becomethan just the furniture of the political military bureaucratic complex About halfway through, the novel picks up and becomes the moving and compelling story of a man who becomes aware Oh, Jos Saramago I do not know whether to feelhope or despair Seeing was slow to get going, in part because, at first, there were really no characters I suspect this was intentional, as the nameless people of the novel only emerge and become interesting as their consciences awaken and they becomethan just the furniture of the political military bureaucratic complex About halfway through, the novel picks up and becomes the moving and compelling story of a man who becomes aware begins to see what s going on and his journey of confusion, conscience, courage, and humility as he figures out what can and must be done, and what he himself can and must do Jos Saramago, I am grateful that you walked the earth and blessed us with your compassionate vision

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