Now, I'm not one for leaning heavily on the cane of irony as it were and then using it to tap, tap, tap my way down the street blindly with only the echoing laughs and harrumphs of recognition at the sheer coincidence of seemingly non-connected events coming together to guide me down a sidewalk littered with more debris than you can shake a cane at with hands stiff and arthritic from masturbatory revelry, but I'd be a cat trying to cover its scat on a marble floor if this book didn't whack me upside the head with its literal transference from concept to killing machine. For, it appears to me, when I flick on the bathroom light in the middle of the night, those devious devils, the silverfish, that have haunted me for many years, freeze, blind it seems, because when I approach them with this book, angled at a degree for maximum striking velocity, they don't move an inch. No flex of antennae or movement of one of their many, hideous legs and I can only believe, as I am about to hit them with a copy of Blindness, that they themselves are temporarily blind and some kind of ironic justice is being served. Chalk one up for the iron fist of irony helping the blind to smite the blind and sending those silverfish back to Satan's laboratory where they were born, bred and fitted for spats.
Well, enough about my own philosophical ramblings. After all, we're here to discuss the book, not my silverfish problems and the chasms and schisms they create in the mind of a deep-thinker such as myself, especially after a bottle of cough syrup and some ham steak. Blindness has a real whizz-bang opening that's hard to ignore, even if you're drowsy with dextromethorphan and stray embers from your Meerschaum pipe are burning holes in your underwear. I mentioned moles and bats earlier and this is no coincidence because Blindness begins with a surprise attack by a group of Spanish anarchists known as the El Marmotas, whose resemblance to half-mole, half-bat entities is striking. Saramago based them on a real-life anarchist group in Spain, El Hombres Ardilla de Tierras, or the Ground-Mole Men. In two rare photographs pictured below, you can see how they used to get liquored up and then shoot their unsuspecting victims with their "Anarchy Blindness Gun." Firing liquified calamari indiscriminately into large crowds, these Ground-Mole Men were the scourge of many large cities in Spain for a good decade, blinding people temporarily with their liquid squid concoction and then raiding local stores for TVs, stereos and rubber gaskets and bathtub plugs.
|A rare photo of El Hombres Ardilla de Tierras firing their Anarchy Blindness Gun into a unsuspecting crowd in Barcelona, circa 1965.|
|You can see the power of their weapon worn on the expression of the head honcho of El Hombres Ardilla de Tierras, Ibrahim Legumanzos, as he suffers the kickback from the burst of liquid squid.|
Anyway, the novel focuses on five people bonded in their blindness and love of gypsy curses and hypnotizing water fowl. Dr. Sergio Hamantashen, struck blind mid-operation, perforates his patient's bowel and during his surgical team's protestations, they too are suddenly blinded and then the patient dies and the surgical team is left to fend for themselves, feinting and slicing at the air with scalpels like Don Quixote jousting with windmills but this is my allusion, not Saramago's, but it's one I think he should've made and added a little depth to this scene rather than just severed arteries and screaming, naked nurses running blindly into walls to escape rutting and blind orderlies with tumescent protuberances sprouting from their foreheads and groins (part of the asteroid's spores side-effect of the takeover) and trays of cafeteria food growing cold under the unwatchful eyes of hair-netted custodians in orthopedic footwear. I don't like to say that a Nobel prize-winner should follow my advice, but in this case, he should have.
|He may look like the cock-of-the-walk in his penthouse chicken coop but I don't see any lady chickens around. Do you?All the style in the world won't bring the chickens home to roost if you don't have the personality to match.|
|Rabbi Mendel Megatron-X-9 performing the simultaneous bar mitzvah/circumcision in accordance with the laws of the 13th tribe of Israel who had been exiled to Gorvotron-6 in the Kishkadian Galaxy back in the 13th century.|