Despite the heavy rain, the presiding officer at Polling Station 14 finds it odd that by midday on National Election day, only a handful of voters have turned out. Puzzlement swiftly escalates to shock when eventually, after an extension, the final count reveals seventy per cent of the votes are blank - not spoiled, simply blank. National law decrees the election should be repeated eight days later. The result is worse; eighty-three per cent of the votes are blank. The incumbent government receives eight per cent and the opposition even less. The authorities, seized with panic, decamp from the capital and place it under a state of emergency. In his new novel, Jose Saramago has deftly created the politician's ultimate nightmare: disillusionment not with one party, but with all, thereby rendering the entire democratic system useless. Seeing explores how simply this could be achieved and how devastating the results might be.
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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2006, 0-15-101238-5
"I have never read a novel that gets so many details of the political behavior that we for some reason insist on calling 'organized' so hilariously and grimly right." — Chicago Tribune
On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to come out to vote. 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. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? Or even blindly? The word evokes terrible memories of the plague of blindness that hit the city four years before, and of the one woman who kept her sight. Could she be behind the blank ballots? 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] searching, dry-witted, spot-on political parable."—The New York Observer
"Saramago understands that ridicule is a terrifically effective political weapon, and in Seeing he makes it his business to turn repression into farce."—The New York Times Book Review
JOSE SARAMAGO is one of the most acclaimed writers in the world today. He is the author of numerous novels, including All the Names, Blindness, and The Cave. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lives in Spain.
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Book Description Vintage Books USA, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110099483629