Journals of the Plague Years: Narrative Disorientation in
Jose Saramago’s Blindness
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Stewart O’Nan’s A Prayer for the Dying
How does an author convey the disorientation suffered by the victims of a plague of blindness? He can’t tell it straight; it would be like observing a children’s game of blind man’s buff: comical, absurd, bodies bump into each other in the white light of their affliction. To carry the reader into the fog of Blindness, Saramago ties on blindfolds, throws up stylistic obstacles to be tripped over, forces the reader to grope in the darkness for comprehension, and offers an eyewitness to interpret the experience.