Blind Sight (through the eyes of Leocardo Reyes)
Ermisenda Alvarez (Smashwords Edition 2012, ebook) 506 pages
What a fine, fine book this is with intriguing concepts in both its story and publication. You see (oh sorry, that’s a terrible pun) Blind Sight is actually two books. One, which I read and am reviewing here is written from the perspective of 20 year old Leocardo Reyes. Its companion volume is the same story as told by Aniela, a friend of Leocardo’s blind younger sister Odette. Not only are there two different central characters, there are two different authors as well. Ermisenda Alvarez wrote this version; Eliabeth Hawthorne wrote Aniela’s story. As there are precious few new ideas in the world of arts and letters, this must have been done before by someone, however I’m darned if I can tell you who.
Besides this Rashomon-like storytelling, the predicament at the core of Blind Sight is one that warms my heart. I have long and loudly proclaimed that the old limited-run British series The Prisoner, written by and starring the late Patrick McGoohan is the best thing that ever hit television. The spine of its story was that McGoohan, known only as Number 6, found himself in The Village where almost everyone seemed quite happy living in a sort of seaside resort with one big catch. Although all needs were provided for, leaving The Village was not permitted. Thus each episode featured a struggle between acceptance and escape.
Blind Sight opens with Leocardo and Odette feeling inexplicably drawn towards traveling from their Spanish home to the nation of Edaion, whose name seems drawn from an anagram of No Idea. Once arrived (because if they didn’t obey the impulse there wouldn’t be much of a book) they aren’t quite sure what compelled them to go there and it ever so slowly creeps up on them that they are stuck there. And then when they call home to speak to their parents only to find that the parents view their children as strangers, well, complications arise.
To say more about the plot would spoil the reading experience. Let me just comment that Ermisenda Alvarez shows excellent judgment in not showing her hand too soon. the fun of the book is playing along with Leocardo while he attempts to piece together what trick of fate or purpose has brought he and his sister here. Technically Blind Sight has been classed as a YA novel, but I won’t hold that against it. The end result is a well-written suspense novel with some wry tricks and crackling, witty dialogue. At 506 pages, this may sound like a chore of a novel, but this one make slight work of its task; its pages turn easily and often. I bow to the two ladies who collectively want to be known as Ermilia. Well done.
3.5 stars (out of 4)