Blindness (original title, in Portuguese: Ensaio sobre in Cegueira, literally Essay on blindness) is a novel by the writer and Nobel Prize for Portuguese literature José Saramago, published in 1995.
In an unspecified time and place, suddenly the entire population becomes blind due to an inexplicable epidemic. Whoever is struck by this evil finds himself wrapped in a milky cloud and no longer sees us. The psychological reactions of the anonymous protagonists are devastating, with an explosion of terror and violence, and the effects of this mysterious pathology on social coexistence will be dramatic. The first ones hit by the evil are in fact locked up in a former asylum for the fear of the contagion and the insensitivity of others, and here all the horror of which the man knows how to be able manifests. In his fantastic story, Saramago draws the great metaphor of a beastly and ferocious humanity, incapable of seeing and distinguishing things on a basis of rationality, creator of brutalization, violence, degradation. The result is a novel of universal value on indifference and selfishness, on power and oppression, on the war of all against all, a harsh denunciation of the darkness of reason, with a cathartic glimmer of light and salvation.
Josè Saramago writes in a bleak way the psyche, the instinct and the reality of man that cancels millennia of biological, social and cultural evolution, when fear and the struggle for survival are the only elements that force him to keep breathing. Saramago is very adept at being able to convey the feeling of blindness to readers, catapulting them with all their senses into the horrid former mental hospital. The displacement of the reader also occurs through extremely innovative writing techniques for the time: the characters have no name and the dialogues are not signaled in any way, so that even the reader of Blindness by Jose Saramago can feel displaced as a blind person who must recognize from what part a voice comes from.