Seeing (Hardcover)

By Jose Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780151012381, 320pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2006



On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to come out to vote. The politicians are growing jittery. What's going on? Should they reschedule the elections for another day? Around three o'clock, the rain finally stops. Promptly at four, voters rush to the polling stations, as if they had been ordered to appear.

But when the ballots are counted, more than 70 percent are blank. The citizens are rebellious. A state of emergency is declared. The president proposes that a wall be built around the city to contain the revolution. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? Or even blindly? The word evokes terrible memories of the plague of blindness that had hit the city four years before, and of the one woman who kept her sight. Could she be behind the blank ballots? Is she the organizer of a conspiracy against the state? A police superintendent is put on the case.

What begins as a satire on governments and the sometimes dubious efficacy of the democratic system turns into something far more sinister. A singular novel from the author of Blindness.

Praise For Seeing

"A shattering work by a literary master."-THE BOSTON GLOBE

"Saramago is the most tender of writers . . . with a clear-eyed and compassionate acknowledgment of things as they are, and a quality that can only be termed wisdom. We should be grateful when it is handed to us in such generous measure."

"Saramago''s unsettling allegory of power and politics . . . stays with you long after the last page is turned."

-Scott Stephens

"[A]nother invaluable gift from a matchless writer"

"Saramago’s clear eye for acknowledging things as they are barrages us with valuable insights suggesting that the dynamics of human governance are not as rational as we like to think"

"Saramago has a taste for alternative realities, for the use of fiction as a form of speculation." 
-Michael Wood