Blindsight

Herve Guibert, Author, James Kirkup, Translator George Braziller $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8076-1414-3
Published posthumously, French novelist Guibert's hallucinatory, intensely lyrical parable is set in an institute for the blind, where Josette and Robert, a sightless married couple, share a room and play duets for harp and musical saw. Their asylum, a gloomy dystopia, features a sandbox in which inmates sculpt body parts; an astronomical observatory where savants track stars through telescopes; replicas of dinosaurs; and a callous director who feels smugly superior to the blind residents. Josette, as part of her apprenticeship, cruelly pokes out the eyes of her pet mouse. Taillegueur, a blind masseur with phony credentials, seduces Josette, leading to a raw, hot, secret sex rendezvous and a plot to kill the kindhearted Robert. Although Taillegueur is malicious and defiantly crude, he rants eloquently at the mistreatment of sightless people over the centuries. Guibert, who died in 1991 at age 36, writes with uncanny empathy and insight into the universe of the sightless, bestowing a remarkable sensuality upon his characters. With vigorous language, he evokes touch, taste, sound and smell so powerfully that his book, far from being a lament for the blind, is a biting commentary on the opportunities for feeling and sensation squandered by those with all their senses working. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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