patch and the boy with a squint form a group that survives this holocaustic experience. Saramago's message is nothing so simple as "love will conquer all," but love, acts of selflessness and courage do go a long way toward combating the plague. ' Saramago sustains the blindness metaphor so well that the reader rarely mentioned; facial and body features remain vague; visual details between believable narration and Isabelle, she had the love of a good man and the respect of a dutiful daughter. Isabelle also wonders if Hamlet wasn't being a little melodramatic. She had troubles too, but never thought of killing herself. Her literary self-education ends when she decides, "life was difficult enough without bringing someone else's sorrows to crash down about often begins to feel blind. Colors are your head." Life is indeed difficult for Isabelle are limited to shapes, barriers, light or dark. Saramago's fine balance philosophical meditation will pull in the intelligent reader and keep her there. Occasionally, the narrative voice can seem intrusive and rather ponderous in its pronouncements. Stylistically, Saramago lacks the grace and lightness of Milan Kundera, with whom he invites a comparison. Unlike Kundera, whose aesthetic in Shirley Falls, a
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1999
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