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, José 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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He writes with wit, with heartbreaking dignity, and with the simplicity of a great artist in full control of his art. Let us listen to a true elder of our people, a man of tears, a man of wisdom - Guardian
A brilliant, cruelly ironic, surreal exposé of what we think of as civil society - Scotland on Sunday
Saramago portrays an instantly recognisable world in which our political masters bang on about democracy while pursuing policies without any regard to the normal standards of law and basic morality, but in this dense, dark and occasionally brutal book he never forgets the satirist's duty to be funny - Sunday Times
This is political satire delivered with rare intellectual gravitas - Mail on Sunday
A profound fable - New Statesman
The narrative voice is impressively uncompromising - The Times
José Saramago is one of the most important international writers of thelast hundred years. Born in Portugal in 1922 in the small rural village of Azinhaga, he was in his fifties when he came to prominence as a writer with the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in June 2010.