For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind

Rosemary Mahoney. Little, Brown, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-04342-7
“The blind can well enough defend themselves,” says Mahoney (Down the Nile) in this beautiful book about a vibrant leader of the blind, Sabriye Tenberken. German-born Tenberken founded a school for blind children in Tibet—which later became Braille Without Borders—as well as a school in Kerala, India, to train blind teachers. Mahoney, who is sighted, became a teacher at the latter facility and was at first terrified by her decision. All around her, the blind were laughing, thinking, walking without fear and with an impossible patience. She was startled by the way her students easily inhabited “a world dominated by thought rather than appearances.” Doubting herself, she says, “I was not even a well-adjusted sighted person... I was born impatient and annoyed.” For such reasons, she writes, “I was not quite sure I was prepared to teach.” She stumbles through her first challenge—to define “twinkling”—as one might expect of a sighted person in a sightless world. But in time Mahoney becomes an exceptional translator for the blind, mediating for what she ends up seeing as two groups of the sighted: those who see with their eyes, and those who see with their minds. Agent: Betsy Lerner; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-316-25607-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-316-04343-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-0091-7
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-24870-9
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