Added May 17, 2016
  • Seeing
  • Jose Saramago
  • Harcourt Brace, U.S.A. 2006

Seeing is a sequel to Saramago’s best known novel Blindness. In Seeing, the post-Blindness populace of the same unnamed country cast blank ballots in their parliamentary elections. The government, not knowing how to react, declares a state of emergency. Saramago wrestles with some pretty heavy themes in this book.

In his Booklist review, Brad Hooper said, “With run-on paragraphs and dialogue, the author challenges readers to pay close attention; the appreciators of literary fiction who do so will find a clever, even sly, but also sobering exploration of when governments do and when they do not have reason to be paranoid.”

From the New York Times Book Review: “Saramago understands that ridicule is a terrifically effective political weapon, and in Seeing he makes it his business to turn repression into farce.”

This stated first US hardcover edition came out shortly after the British true first edition, which happens to be paperback. Strangely, starting with this novel, Harvill stopped putting out a hardcover first edition of Saramago’s work.

There is only one signed copy of the British first edition on-line, and it is selling for $400. Signed American hardcover first edition prices range from $300 to $800, while unsigned, fine/fine condition U.S. copies like this one can be found for as little as $30 plus shipping.

seeing-harcourt-copy_ This could be partly because the first print runs of the later works of this Nobel laureate were huge. For this reason, it is relatively easy to find these in used book stores.

In time, it should  be the Harvill paperback true firsts which will become most collectible and, ultimately, the most valuable. Also, because the true first happens to be a cheap mass market paperback, fine copies will become harder and harder to find.

Having said that, I have to also say that the Harvill paperback true first edition of Seeing has really great cover art; arguably much nicer than this U.S. edition.


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