This is a fascinating and engaging story about a city whose inhabitants go blind. The details you don’t need to know, they simply go blind and there are sad but understandable consequences as the people devolve to the most basic of needs — using the bathroom, finding food, engaging with other humans. There are horrific details, certainly, but also extremely human details, that call to one’s better angels rather than one’s worst demons. It finishes with a community of people beginning to see again, and to no longer take for granted the good in their lives (fresh water in taps, cooked food, available food, sanitation, etc). The morality and preaching is not overwhelming, it is simply a good reflection of the tremendous benefits we have in our lives today. To overlook them is to be blind.
My biggest takeways from this book are to, first of all, recommend the book to anyone I can. I struggled with the writing style, which has run-on sentences and paragraphs that last for pages, but ultimately was good with the style as a way of conveying the complexity and difficulty of the conversations happening among the characters. Along with that, I hope to appreciate the simple provisions in our modern lives — running water, sanitation, easily available food, companionship, love, etc. I want to be alive and awake to the importance of virtue in life, and to act on the values that have shaped my life to date. Life has a funny way of bringing these ideas into reality, and just today I have come across two examples of bringing virtue to life through our children. My hope is to emulate the one that was exceedingly positive and awe-inspiring, rather than the one I fear we are on the path towards, which is wealth-embracing and difficult parenting. We have enough opportunity in our lives that we should focus on how to bring peace and calm to those currently without it. I think it would be beneficial to our children and help them understand the incredible gifts they have been given.