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"Sin ti me moriría" ¿es una frase retórica? Decir: «Te quiero más que a mi vida» ¿compromete a quien lo dice? Esta es la historia de una emergencia médica ocurrida a una escritora chilena fuera de su país. Es la historia de un derrame, primero en un ojo y después en el otro. Es, entonces, la historia de una ceguera vivida entre Santiago y Nueva York y por extensión una exp "Sin ti me moriría" ¿es una frase retórica? Decir: «Te quiero más que a mi vida» ¿compromete a quien lo dice? Esta es la historia de una emergencia médica ocurrida a una escritora chilena fuera de su país. Es la historia de un derrame, primero en un ojo y después en el otro. Es, entonces, la historia de una ceguera vivida entre Santiago y Nueva York y por extensión una exploración subjetiva de lo que cada uno de esos lugares significa para la protagonista. Nueva York aparece como el lugar del inicio y acaso del final de una enfermedad, el sitio de las operaciones y de una recuperación incierta. Una historia en donde el presente se deja invadir por el pasado y por, lo más terrible, por un futuro incierto. Pero es también y sobre todo la historia de la extraña relación amorosa que surge en esa situación límite y la pregunta sobre la incondicionalidad de eso que llamamos amor. Una novela en la que el amor se hace pregunta y el lector o lectora debe arriesgarse a dar respuesta.


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"Sin ti me moriría" ¿es una frase retórica? Decir: «Te quiero más que a mi vida» ¿compromete a quien lo dice? Esta es la historia de una emergencia médica ocurrida a una escritora chilena fuera de su país. Es la historia de un derrame, primero en un ojo y después en el otro. Es, entonces, la historia de una ceguera vivida entre Santiago y Nueva York y por extensión una exp "Sin ti me moriría" ¿es una frase retórica? Decir: «Te quiero más que a mi vida» ¿compromete a quien lo dice? Esta es la historia de una emergencia médica ocurrida a una escritora chilena fuera de su país. Es la historia de un derrame, primero en un ojo y después en el otro. Es, entonces, la historia de una ceguera vivida entre Santiago y Nueva York y por extensión una exploración subjetiva de lo que cada uno de esos lugares significa para la protagonista. Nueva York aparece como el lugar del inicio y acaso del final de una enfermedad, el sitio de las operaciones y de una recuperación incierta. Una historia en donde el presente se deja invadir por el pasado y por, lo más terrible, por un futuro incierto. Pero es también y sobre todo la historia de la extraña relación amorosa que surge en esa situación límite y la pregunta sobre la incondicionalidad de eso que llamamos amor. Una novela en la que el amor se hace pregunta y el lector o lectora debe arriesgarse a dar respuesta.

30 review for Sangre en el ojo

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    A nervy, staccato novel about one woman's descent into near-blindness after the blood vessels in her eyes burst. It begins in the heady confusion of a house party, and the perspective never really pulls out – we spend the whole thing very close to her thoughts, her impressions, unsure of what is happening elsewhere. This is due in no small part to the prose style, which is all choppy phrases, unmarked direct speech, and short chapters bereft of paragraph breaks. The protagonist is also called ‘Li A nervy, staccato novel about one woman's descent into near-blindness after the blood vessels in her eyes burst. It begins in the heady confusion of a house party, and the perspective never really pulls out – we spend the whole thing very close to her thoughts, her impressions, unsure of what is happening elsewhere. This is due in no small part to the prose style, which is all choppy phrases, unmarked direct speech, and short chapters bereft of paragraph breaks. The protagonist is also called ‘Lina Meruane’, though it's not clear to me exactly how autobiographical the book is supposed to be – clearly, a lot of it is based on Meruane's own health issues, though she hasn't actually ended up blind in real life. In any case, the device allows her to write in a way that's viscerally subjective, with a strong focus on physiological impulses and sense-impressions, sometimes to a degree that feels claustrophobic. Personally, I thought more could have been made of the sounds, smells and textures of New York City and Santiago de Chile (the two main focus points of the book), but instead Meruane's attention is fixed inwards. Before he died, Roberto Bolaño tipped Meruane as being at the head of her generation of Chilean writers, and this angsty novel, rendered into perfectly natural English by Megan McDowell, gives you at least some idea of why.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    This book is harrowing and intense and wonderful. It tells the story of a young woman facing blindness: she has known for a while that she could lose her sight, and then one night at a party it happens. Her boyfriend doesn’t get it and thinks she’s drunk as she stumbles around. But her eyes have filled with blood and while she hopes an operation might help, she knows it may not. The novel is written in the first person and we spend the entire book experiencing all her thoughts and emotions with This book is harrowing and intense and wonderful. It tells the story of a young woman facing blindness: she has known for a while that she could lose her sight, and then one night at a party it happens. Her boyfriend doesn’t get it and thinks she’s drunk as she stumbles around. But her eyes have filled with blood and while she hopes an operation might help, she knows it may not. The novel is written in the first person and we spend the entire book experiencing all her thoughts and emotions with her. It’s a powerful experience. — Rebecca Hussey from The Best Books We Read In December 2016: http://bookriot.com/2017/01/03/riot-r...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vishy

    I discovered Lina Meruane's 'Seeing Red' when I stopped by at the bookshop a few days back. The cover grabbed my attention and refused to let me go. Then I read a quote by Roberto Bolaño on the back cover raving about Lina Meruane - well, who can resist that. I started reading it a couple of days back and finished reading it yesterday. 'Seeing Red' tells the story of a woman, who has a delicate health condition. Her eyes are in a delicate condition - her blood vessels in her eyes can burst any t I discovered Lina Meruane's 'Seeing Red' when I stopped by at the bookshop a few days back. The cover grabbed my attention and refused to let me go. Then I read a quote by Roberto Bolaño on the back cover raving about Lina Meruane - well, who can resist that. I started reading it a couple of days back and finished reading it yesterday. 'Seeing Red' tells the story of a woman, who has a delicate health condition. Her eyes are in a delicate condition - her blood vessels in her eyes can burst any time and she can go blind. Her doctor warns her that she has to be very careful during her everyday life - she can't drink, smoke, make love to her boyfriend, can't even bend down. There are so many other things she can't do, simple everyday things, that we normally take for granted. She lives life in this careful way, avoiding anything which can result in the unfortunate event happening. But one day she is at a party and the dreadful thing happens - the blood vessels in her eyes explode and she becomes blind. She is able to see vague shapes and some light and shadow though. She tries meeting the doctor but she is able to get an appointment only a few days later. When she meets the doctor, he says it is hard to say anything. He says they need to wait for a month and then can think about an operation. He asks her to go on a holiday and spend time with her family in Chile. Well, I won't go into the rest of the story. How her reunion with her family goes, what kind of support her boyfriend gives, does the operation help her - for answers to these questions, you have to read the story. The heroine of our story, has the same name as the writer, Lina Meruane. I later discovered that the novel is based on the writer's own experience. It shows in the story, because the way Meruane describes the way blindness explodes into our heroine's world and plunges her into despair - it feels so real. The relationship between the heroine and her boyfriend is so beautifully depicted. The reunion scenes with her family, her very different relationship with her mother and her father, her two different brothers - they are all beautifully portrayed. I loved the character of her doctor. I loved this particular description of him - "I never noticed Lekz rushing a single syllable or discreetly checking the time; there wasn't a single clock on the walls of his office, no phone ever rang, he didn't have a cell phone. No one ever interrupted him. He was an absolutely dedicated specialist, true Russian fanaticism inculcated by his Soviet lineage." That doctor was a no-nonsense character, dedicated to his work, never made any promises that he could't keep. I love the way the book describes our heroine's descent into blindness, how navigating everyday things becomes a challenge for her, for example in this passage - "I got tangled up in rugs, I knocked over posters leaning against walls, I toppled trashcans. I was buried in open boxes with table legs between my fingers. The house was alive, it wielded its doorknobs and sharpened its fixtures while I still clung to corners that were no longer where they belonged. It changed shape, the house, the rooms castled, the furniture swapped places to confuse me. With one eye blind with blood and the other clouded over at my every movement, I was lost, a blindfolded chicken, dizzy and witless." - how simple things she took for granted are now challenging or impossible, how for someone who is a reader and a writer and a researcher, this is a kind of irreparable loss. Our heart goes out to the heroine and we sink when her heart sinks. But the book also descibes how our heroine handles these challenges with style and aplomb - it is inspiring. For example, in this sentence - "As the car set off and began to gather speed, I looked into the rearview mirror with my mind's eye..." - and this passage - "Yes, but I'm only an apprentice blind woman and I have very little ambition in the trade, and yes, almost blind and dangerous. But I'm not going to just sit in a chair and wait for it to pass." - and this passage - "when he opened the door Ignacio exclaimed joder, the sun is coming up. But the word sunrise evoked nothing. Nothing even close to a sunrise. My eyes were emptying of all the things they'd seen. And it occurred to me that words and their rhythms would remain, but not landscapes, not colors or faces, not those black eyes of Ignacio's that I had seen spill out a love at times wary, sullen, cutting, but above all an open love, expectant, full of mirages that the crossword puzzle would define as hallucinations." There is a scene in the book where our heroine kisses her boyfriend's eye - it is so beautiful, sensual, even erotic. It was amazing, because I never thought that a description of a person kissing someone's eye could be that way. The description of Chile in the book is fascinating and beautiful and takes us a little bit into Chilean history of the past half century and makes us want to read more about that period. The ending of the book is unexpected and stunning - I didn't see that coming. Then I stepped back by a chapter and discovered that there were clues strewn around by the author. It was like watching 'The Sixth Sense'. I loved the structure of the book. It is not very long at 157 pages. It is divided into short chapters, between two and four pages long. Each chapter has a title. Interestingly, each chapter is also made up of only one paragraph. Punctuation is used minimally. There is no distinction between a statement, a question, a dialogue. Sometimes the speaker of the first sentence is different from the speaker of the second sentence and there is no signpost to indicate that the speaker has changed. This kind of stuff might bother some readers. It didn't bother me. I loved it and the story flowed naturally for me. Lina Meruane's prose is soft, gentle and smooth and flows beautifully and quietly like a river. Reading the book is a meditative experience, which is very fascinating, because the main theme it addresses is a bit dark and bleak. Meruane's prose softens the blow and makes us turn the page. There are places in the book where I couldn't help wonder how a particular passage would have read in Spanish, how it would have been even more beautiful and poetic in the original. For example, this description - "That accent, so unmistakably Chilean, harbored the glacial poem of the mountain peaks and their snows in eternal mid-thaw, the dark whisper of the south dotted with giant rhubarbs, the mourning of roadside shrines, the herb-garden smell, the rough salts of the desert, the sulfurous copper shell of the mine open to the sky." - and this phrase - "to interrupt the peace of the worried" - and this sentence - "While outside the street revives - a gust or a whisper in the distance - and the sun peers indignantly through the gaps in the curtains to track us with its flame" If you get to read this book in Spanish, I will envy you. I also loved the fact that there was a lot of white space surrounding the words in a page - a beautiful place where the reader can write comments and notes. I love a book when it has that. I loved 'Seeing Red'. It is one of my favourite reads of the year. I hope to read it again one of these days, more slowly, focussing on my favourite passages. #Quotes I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book. "I'm the heroine who resists her tragedy, I thought, the heroine trying to drive destiny crazy with her own hands." "Good was a word Lekz sometimes slid out like a crutch, and other times it seemed to weigh heavy on his tongue, like a rock that sinks in silence, leaving only ripples. The word had an expansive effect in the room." "The lyrics of the song explain : what makes you live can kill you in excess. The refrain repeats : too much sun, too much sugar, too much water, too much oxygen. Too much maternal love. Too much truth." "The finger is no longer there. My hand isn't there and neither is my arm. I'm not me anymore. Lucina vanished, her being is suspended somewhere in the hospital. What is left of her now is pure biology : a heart that beats and beats, a lung that inflates, an anesthetized brain incapable of dreaming, while the hair goes on growing, slowly, beneath the cap." #EndOfQuotes Have you read Lina Meruane's 'Seeing Red'? What do you think about it?

  4. 4 out of 5

    lark benobi

    As I was reading Seeing Red I had a sudden vivid wish to gather some women writers together who i realize have similar energy and similar honesty in their writing as Lina Meruane has in her writing, and whose writing is, like hers, brutally physical--by which I mean, not violent, but even so, deeply felt in the body. There is no distance at all in their writing. They write about blood and love and life and death. Seeing Red begins, literally, with blood and love, in medias res, at a party, where As I was reading Seeing Red I had a sudden vivid wish to gather some women writers together who i realize have similar energy and similar honesty in their writing as Lina Meruane has in her writing, and whose writing is, like hers, brutally physical--by which I mean, not violent, but even so, deeply felt in the body. There is no distance at all in their writing. They write about blood and love and life and death. Seeing Red begins, literally, with blood and love, in medias res, at a party, where the protagonist--who has been told by her doctor that any pressure at all--too hard a cough, or just bending over--might cause the diseased blood vessels in her eyes to burst and cause blindness--has just moved the wrong way, and then watches her eye as it fills with blood from the inside and her vision darken. From the outside there is no sign of her injury. Her lover doesn't understand why she stumbles, not at first--he thinks she is drunk. The voice of this novel is detached in a way that adds to its nearly unbearable pathos rather than creating distance. In this way it reminds me of Lorrie Moore's voice in the story "People Like That Are the Only People Here," and indeed along with Meruane, Lorrie Moore is one of the writers I would invite to this imaginary gathering, as well as Guadalupe Nettel, author of The Body Where I Was Born, another short vivid novel about the particular physicalities of of living inside a female body, and Maggie Nelson would be there, too, because Meruane's writing also reminds me of The Argonauts, for its relentless focus on the difficulties of love between consenting, flawed adults. And Maylis de Kerangal, author of the novel I just read, The Heart, would be there, too, because her novel, like Meruane's, is a fearless examination of the terrors of living inside a broken body. so that's a good party.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    “I watched an infinite number of treasured and uneven memories parade before my sick eyes, memories of the times when I’d pretended to erase my illness, moments that were falsely happy when I’d made myself think I could be someone else; they'd debilitated me and left me at the mercy of a foreign solitude that was only mine.” From the beginning, the staccato sentences and underlying sense of urgency set the reader right along with Lucina, a young woman who suffers some sort of episode (stroke, mos “I watched an infinite number of treasured and uneven memories parade before my sick eyes, memories of the times when I’d pretended to erase my illness, moments that were falsely happy when I’d made myself think I could be someone else; they'd debilitated me and left me at the mercy of a foreign solitude that was only mine.” From the beginning, the staccato sentences and underlying sense of urgency set the reader right along with Lucina, a young woman who suffers some sort of episode (stroke, most likely, but never stated) in the first few pages of the book. She remains calm even as she "sees red", her eyes filling with blood, progressively blinding her. The first-person narrative is especially effective here, in the seat of Lucina as she experiences the doctor's visits, falls and injuries adapting to her new state, and the growing dependency on her boyfriend Ignacio, and later her family in Santiago, Chile. Her descriptions and details change, to that of the other senses, specifically the smells and memories behind them. The stream-of-consciousness / internal style worked well here, especially in the short section model, each being 2-3 pages. Her descriptions of interactions with her mother specifically hit me - she captured something very specific - a nameless emotion - within an adult daughter/mother relationship.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    Intense, disturbing, and vividly written, this little novel treads the border between autobiography and fiction, fantasy/horror and realism. Our narrator, Lucina/Lina is a type 1 diabetic apparently suffering from the final stages of diabetic retinopathy. An unfortunate but chance incident at a party leads to a stroke and all her retinal veins bleeding out, flooding her vitreous humour, and causing blindness. The rest of the book deals with Lina, her boyfriend, doctor, and family confronting thi Intense, disturbing, and vividly written, this little novel treads the border between autobiography and fiction, fantasy/horror and realism. Our narrator, Lucina/Lina is a type 1 diabetic apparently suffering from the final stages of diabetic retinopathy. An unfortunate but chance incident at a party leads to a stroke and all her retinal veins bleeding out, flooding her vitreous humour, and causing blindness. The rest of the book deals with Lina, her boyfriend, doctor, and family confronting this blindness, each in their own way, as depicted by Lina. This all sounds fairly standard but Lina is far from a standard narrator and her "vision" is profoundly dark, unflinching, and more than a little unbalanced. The final pages are, well... disquieting. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Areeb Ahmad (Bankrupt_Bookworm)

    I will say this again and again: Megan McDowell is doing really phenomenal work in translating all these outstandingly unique Spanish novels into English. RTC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    This book was so good I sent Meruane a giddy fan letter. It began as a sedate, polite note about how much I enjoyed the novel and spun out from there because... Wow. It was fantastic. I devoured it. I read it in the original Spanish, but I understand that Meruane worked closely with her translator for the English edition, Seeing Red, so it's bound to be excellent as well. Definitely seek it out. Definitely read it. This book was so good I sent Meruane a giddy fan letter. It began as a sedate, polite note about how much I enjoyed the novel and spun out from there because... Wow. It was fantastic. I devoured it. I read it in the original Spanish, but I understand that Meruane worked closely with her translator for the English edition, Seeing Red, so it's bound to be excellent as well. Definitely seek it out. Definitely read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    Albeit a fascinating read I did struggle at times with the style, not sure if some of this is down to translation, but it did feel like a constant stream of consciousness which I found quite heavy at times. Despite that, it’s such an unusual story, semi autobiographical as I believe the author experienced blindness following a stroke, so it’s a pretty horrific journey through the terrors of blindness, peppered with dark humour.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

    This book is described as a new-to-me genre – autobiographical novel. Apparently the author, Lina Meruane, had a stroke and suffered temporary blindness, necessitating surgery. Her novel’s main character, also named Lina Meruane, is based on the author, also being an author having serious problems with her vision. The literary character literally sees red from the burst blood vessels behind her eye. The book is written in short chapters with a stream of consciousness aspect to them. Having been t This book is described as a new-to-me genre – autobiographical novel. Apparently the author, Lina Meruane, had a stroke and suffered temporary blindness, necessitating surgery. Her novel’s main character, also named Lina Meruane, is based on the author, also being an author having serious problems with her vision. The literary character literally sees red from the burst blood vessels behind her eye. The book is written in short chapters with a stream of consciousness aspect to them. Having been through a period of blindness herself, the author writes a very realistic portrayal of a woman’s deterioration of vision and the effects of her impending blindness on not only herself but her loved ones. While Ms. Meruane did a wonderful job describing all of the terrors of blindness and its devastating consequences, there was an element of black humor that I wasn’t able to appreciate. It’s an intelligent read and one I feel I should have been able to immerse myself into more than I was able to. This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

    I expected this autobiographical novel about a Chilean American woman going blind to be riveting; sadly, whether it was the translation or what, by the 50% mark I found it to be quite putdownable so that's what I did. I expected this autobiographical novel about a Chilean American woman going blind to be riveting; sadly, whether it was the translation or what, by the 50% mark I found it to be quite putdownable so that's what I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill Hsu

    When I read texts like this, I'm often a bit distracted, wondering how much is based on autobiographical events. The narrator also goes by "Lina", and many aspects of her life are quite similar to Meruane's own biography. I was really enjoying Meruane's prose in the first 50 pages or so. The complex interpersonal and family relationships are treated in a nuanced and realistic way; I can certainly relate to Lina's interactions with her parents under the shadow of her health crisis. The novel is en When I read texts like this, I'm often a bit distracted, wondering how much is based on autobiographical events. The narrator also goes by "Lina", and many aspects of her life are quite similar to Meruane's own biography. I was really enjoying Meruane's prose in the first 50 pages or so. The complex interpersonal and family relationships are treated in a nuanced and realistic way; I can certainly relate to Lina's interactions with her parents under the shadow of her health crisis. The novel is entirely composed of 2-4 page paragraphs. Long paragraphs are often tough for me, but it helps that each is within a titled section. I was ready to give this 4 stars, but eventually felt that the material was stretched out a bit much (I know, I know, my usual complaint). I do feel a bit callous about not appreciating this more, especially if it's autobiographical. It's not helpful that my copy of the newly translated Mariana Enriquez just arrived, and is exerting its irresistible gravity. Megan McDowell translated both! Not a bad way to start my reading year. (3.5 stars)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Schreiber

    This story of a woman who loses her eyesight, inspired by an episode of blindness experienced by the author, is a visceral, internal account of the fear of of losing control, the challenges of navigating the world with the mind's eye, and the anxieties and pressures a person in crisis can put on those close to them. Lucina is only six months into a new relationship when veins in her eyes begin to bleed, robbing her of her vision. Waiting for a chance to try surgery, she flies home to Chile where This story of a woman who loses her eyesight, inspired by an episode of blindness experienced by the author, is a visceral, internal account of the fear of of losing control, the challenges of navigating the world with the mind's eye, and the anxieties and pressures a person in crisis can put on those close to them. Lucina is only six months into a new relationship when veins in her eyes begin to bleed, robbing her of her vision. Waiting for a chance to try surgery, she flies home to Chile where her partner joins her to try to salvage a vacation they'd planned—now primarily restricted to staying with her doctor parents. The narrative unfolds in single paragraph sections that extend for several pages, "seen" entirely from Lucina's unseeing perspective, building in intensity as she careens headlong into an uncertain future. I found the energy irresistible, the style very effective and the translation excellent. https://roughghosts.com/2022/04/21/lo...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marina Sofia

    Fascinating insight into a body beset by blindness - or the possibility of blindness. The style feels like one long howl of pain, or rather many short barks (staccato sentences in long paragraphs, that really rush and place the reader into the anguish, but also some of the freeing aspects of Lina's illness). Full review here: https://findingtimetowrite.wordpress.... Fascinating insight into a body beset by blindness - or the possibility of blindness. The style feels like one long howl of pain, or rather many short barks (staccato sentences in long paragraphs, that really rush and place the reader into the anguish, but also some of the freeing aspects of Lina's illness). Full review here: https://findingtimetowrite.wordpress....

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert Wechsler

    A great little novel in an incredible translation by my Goodreads friend Megan McDowell. It's all about the narrator’s voice, the way she describes things, people, relationships (her verbs as much as her adjectives), the way she remembers, how visceral she is, her transitions and lack thereof, the way she starts her short chapters, everything she does and the way she does it is wonderful, original, and holds together with little in the way of plot, just some spurts of dialogue, and characters on A great little novel in an incredible translation by my Goodreads friend Megan McDowell. It's all about the narrator’s voice, the way she describes things, people, relationships (her verbs as much as her adjectives), the way she remembers, how visceral she is, her transitions and lack thereof, the way she starts her short chapters, everything she does and the way she does it is wonderful, original, and holds together with little in the way of plot, just some spurts of dialogue, and characters only as they are to the narrator. There is one section toward the end that feels conventional, and it’s a shock, clearly an intended one. This is one of the few novels that, at my age, I will keep and read again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    jeremy

    an unsettling and disquieting look at a woman's descent into blindness, lina meruane's seeing red (sangre en el ojo) melds autobiography with fiction. meruane, a new york-based chilean novelist and lit professor, was awarded the 2013 sor juana inés de la cruz prize (given to spanish-language women writers) for this work. with a first-person narrative chronicling her own ocular decline, seeing red bears witness to the inter- and intrapersonal struggles that force the narrator to make sense of the an unsettling and disquieting look at a woman's descent into blindness, lina meruane's seeing red (sangre en el ojo) melds autobiography with fiction. meruane, a new york-based chilean novelist and lit professor, was awarded the 2013 sor juana inés de la cruz prize (given to spanish-language women writers) for this work. with a first-person narrative chronicling her own ocular decline, seeing red bears witness to the inter- and intrapersonal struggles that force the narrator to make sense of the relationships around her, all while relying upon those very people for support, aid, and comfort. meruane's gifted prose lends the story both immediacy and persuasiveness. and in the minutes that passed while i pulled up my skirt over my dirty underwear, put on my sweaty socks, my boots, pulled on my undershirt, scarf, sweater, and anxiety over the verdict, i watched an infinite number of treasured and uneven memories parade before my sick eyes, memories of the times when i'd pretended to erase my illness, moments that were falsely happy when i'd made myself think i could be someone else; they'd debilitated me and left me at the mercy of a foreign solitude that was only mine. *translated from the spanish by megan mcdowell (zambra, et al.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tyler J Gray

    A mix of autobiography and fiction, of her losing her sight, makes me wonder what is true and what isn't but didn't lessen my enjoyment (or horror and sadness as I related to some of the feelings, being dependent on others because of disability, though i'm not blind so I know that's different). It has little sections. No paragraphs when them. It doesn't stop. I thought it would make it harder to read, but it made me read faster. It was a fast read and an engaging one. It's messy and real. Read vi A mix of autobiography and fiction, of her losing her sight, makes me wonder what is true and what isn't but didn't lessen my enjoyment (or horror and sadness as I related to some of the feelings, being dependent on others because of disability, though i'm not blind so I know that's different). It has little sections. No paragraphs when them. It doesn't stop. I thought it would make it harder to read, but it made me read faster. It was a fast read and an engaging one. It's messy and real. Read via Scribd.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stan Georgiana

    Book 38 for Invisible cities project Country: Chile

  19. 5 out of 5

    Grace PB

    This book was nothing like any other book I have ever read. The book is written with such a sense of urgency and passion which helps the reader sympathise with the protagonist in their situation of losing her sight. It was an interesting read and I found it quite a 'heavy' read and it took a lot of concentration to get myself back into the book each time I picked it up. I also assume that because it was translated from Spanish this made it more difficult to become engrossed in as it had some gramm This book was nothing like any other book I have ever read. The book is written with such a sense of urgency and passion which helps the reader sympathise with the protagonist in their situation of losing her sight. It was an interesting read and I found it quite a 'heavy' read and it took a lot of concentration to get myself back into the book each time I picked it up. I also assume that because it was translated from Spanish this made it more difficult to become engrossed in as it had some grammatical issues, such as no speech marks, or no real paragraphs just headings. This also resulted in the book not flowing as well as I assume it would have done in Spanish. Nonetheless this was a fascinating read, even more so when you consider it is semi-autobiographical. I would like to thank ReadersFirst for providing a copy of the book in exchange with an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Seeing Red was written by Lina Meruane in Spanish in 2012 and translated by Megan McDowell in 2016. I found it interesting that this is the third book translated by McDowell that I have read this month. Seeing Red is the story of Lina whose worst nightmare happens at a party one night. Her blood vessels in her eyes rupture and she sees blood fill them up before becoming mostly blind. After that we are on the journey with her as she navigates her new reality in often the most visceral of ways. I r Seeing Red was written by Lina Meruane in Spanish in 2012 and translated by Megan McDowell in 2016. I found it interesting that this is the third book translated by McDowell that I have read this month. Seeing Red is the story of Lina whose worst nightmare happens at a party one night. Her blood vessels in her eyes rupture and she sees blood fill them up before becoming mostly blind. After that we are on the journey with her as she navigates her new reality in often the most visceral of ways. I really liked the middle portion when she flew to Santiago, Chile to visit her family. This book took me quite a while to read. One, because I am on holiday and have far less time, and two, because I found myself stopping to process what I was reading. For such a small book it was quite dense. I enjoyed it a lot and was excited to see it made the #100bestWIT list.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    At a party it was happening. Right then. The doctors had been warning Lucina, for a long time. At Twelve o’clock sharp she gave her an injection, when her purse fell to floor Lucina bent down to pick it up. And then a firecracker went off in her head. But no, it was no fire that she was seeing, it was blood spilling out inside her eye. Until twelve o’clock that night Lucina had perfect vision. But by three o’clock Sunday morning, even the most powerful magnifying glass wouldn’t have helped her. At a party it was happening. Right then. The doctors had been warning Lucina, for a long time. At Twelve o’clock sharp she gave her an injection, when her purse fell to floor Lucina bent down to pick it up. And then a firecracker went off in her head. But no, it was no fire that she was seeing, it was blood spilling out inside her eye. Until twelve o’clock that night Lucina had perfect vision. But by three o’clock Sunday morning, even the most powerful magnifying glass wouldn’t have helped her. Seeing Red is a harrowing semi-autobiographical novel that I have read. I would recommend reading Seeing Red as Lina Meruane is one of the one or two greats in the new generation of Chilean writers who promise to have it all.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits Seeing Red is an intriguing blend of fact and fiction where it is impossible to know how much of the narrative actually happened to Lina Meruane, the author, and how much has been imagined for Lina Meruane, the fictional character. Reading the novel in the first person adds to this sense of the two being indistinguishable and, for me, this worked brilliantly well although, having since read other reviews, I understand that not all readers wer See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits Seeing Red is an intriguing blend of fact and fiction where it is impossible to know how much of the narrative actually happened to Lina Meruane, the author, and how much has been imagined for Lina Meruane, the fictional character. Reading the novel in the first person adds to this sense of the two being indistinguishable and, for me, this worked brilliantly well although, having since read other reviews, I understand that not all readers were as enthusiastic! I was grateful that Seeing Red does not go into graphically clinical detail about Lina eyes because that would probably have been too much for squeamish little me. Instead Meruane focuses on how it feels to suddenly be robbed of clear vision. I admit that going blind is one of my personal fears so I could identify with Lina's emotional responses. Her having expected eventual blindness (as a result of diabetes) was a particularly chilling concept. I cannot imagine how terrifying it would be to spend months or years knowing that an essentially minor physical action (picking up something off the floor) could have such dire repercussions. Of course, as Lina is in America, there is also the added stress of having to deal with her heartless healthcare insurance company. Lina herself, the fictional one, doesn't come across as a typically sympathetic character. She isn't a passive female victim of circumstance and I loved that her initial need to lean - figuratively and literally - on her partner, Ignacio, is soon replaced by a determination to regain her independence. While Ignacio and Lina's family pin their hopes on successful surgery to restore Lina's sight, the woman herself cannot maintain such blind faith (pun intended). Learning of her doctor's fallibility is a turning point and, again, I loved that Letz isn't a typical fictional surgeon. He is tired, not dashing, and struggles to remember one patient from another. Retinas are strikingly individual, but the patients carrying them into his office, day after day, blur together. Seeing Red explores senses other than sight of course. Lina begins to speak in terms of sound, scent or touch as she becomes more fluent in translating these senses into her new sight. Meruane also explores to what extent sighted people don't actually use their vision. We see what used to be rather than what is there now, or we allow our emotions or our cultural heritage to colour true appearances. I bought Seeing Red on a WorldReads whim knowing pretty much nothing about the novel or Meruane's writing. I am delighted to have found a thoughtful and thought-provoking gem.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy Smith

    4.5 rounded up. Will review soon.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    Um

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received a review copy of this title from the publisher through Edelweiss. Our senses are our most precious natural gifts because it is through them that we are able to experience the world. At one point we have all probably wondered what it would be like to lose our hearing or our sight or our sense of smell. In Seeing Red, we are given a vivid understanding, through the character of Lina, of what it is like to lose one’s sight. Lina, a young woman attending graduate school in Manhattan and li I received a review copy of this title from the publisher through Edelweiss. Our senses are our most precious natural gifts because it is through them that we are able to experience the world. At one point we have all probably wondered what it would be like to lose our hearing or our sight or our sense of smell. In Seeing Red, we are given a vivid understanding, through the character of Lina, of what it is like to lose one’s sight. Lina, a young woman attending graduate school in Manhattan and living with her boyfriend Ignacio, suddenly loses her vision. She has been a diabetic all of her life and from what we are told about her medical history in the book, the blood vessels in her eyes have burst and have caused her blindness. She knows that this is coming and the opening of the book is the moment at which her nightmare comes true. The title is both literally and figuratively appropriate for the story. Lina actually sees red as her blood vessels burst and block her vision; her anger at the loss of her most precious sense makes her severely angry, thus causing her to figuratively “see red.” The tone and setting of the first scene in the book during which Lina and Ignacio are at a party are unexpected. It is at this party when her site begins to fade and when she realizes what is happening she calmly asks Ignacio to take her home. They stay at the party for a while longer and when they finally take a taxi home their ride is also rather serene. But this is the last moment of peace because it is from this point onwards that her anger and her anxiety build. I was not surprised to find out that the author herself suffered from an episode of blindness because of a stroke. Her personal experience with the loss of her sight made the story all the more convincing. There are so many aspects of her life to which she must readjust; Lina has to learn how to navigate the streets of Manhattan, to walk around her apartment without injuring herself, and eat at a table without knocking over drinks. The author’s own experience with blindness gives her writing a unique authenticity that provides us with a comprehensive understanding of what it means to lose this sense. It is very uncomfortable and upsetting to walk through Lina’s life with her as she is trying to adjust to her blindness. One of the hardest aspects of this situation for her to deal with is the ways in which other people act towards her. Ignacio, her boyfriend, is a faithful and loving companion. He washes her eyes and changes her bandages when she has surgery, he goes to her doctor’s appointments with her and he even spends a month with Lina and her family in Chile. But there are times when even Ignacio loses his patience because of Lina’s clumsiness. The episode that was the most memorable in the book is one that takes place while they are visiting Chile. Lina carefully and meticulously packs her own suitcase by feeling each article of clothing and putting the heavier clothes on the bottom of her suitcase and the lighter items on top. Lina’s mother, in an attempt to be helpful, unpacks and repacks Lina’s entire suitcase. This causes Lina to be emotionally distraught because, as she explains between bouts of yelling and crying, she wants to do simple tasks her own way and not have to be constantly dependent on others. It is difficult for her loved ones to attempt to help Lina but without making her feel helpless. Seeing Red is disturbing and uncomfortable but so worth the read. I hope that Meurane’s books will continue to be translated into English so I can read additional works of hers in the future. Thanks to Deep Vellum one of my favorite small presses, for bringing us a wonderful selection of literature from around the world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kazen

    This book showed no mercy and clawed into my brain. The prose is relentless, the story is haunting, and the fact that Seeing Red is an autobiographical novel makes the main character's anguish all the more real. Lina has diabetes and has been told for a long time that one wrong move, one sudden swish of her head could rupture the veins in her retina, rendering her blind. And that's what happens. "And then a firecracker went off in my head. But no, it was no fire I was seeing, it was blood spilling This book showed no mercy and clawed into my brain. The prose is relentless, the story is haunting, and the fact that Seeing Red is an autobiographical novel makes the main character's anguish all the more real. Lina has diabetes and has been told for a long time that one wrong move, one sudden swish of her head could rupture the veins in her retina, rendering her blind. And that's what happens. "And then a firecracker went off in my head. But no, it was no fire I was seeing, it was blood spilling out inside my eye. The most shockingly beautiful blood I have ever seen. The most outrageous. The most terrifying. The blood gushed, but only I could see it. With absolute clarity I watched as it thickened, I saw the pressure rise, I watched as I got dizzy, I saw my stomach turn, saw that I was starting to retch, and even so. I didn't straighten up or move an inch, didn't even try to breathe while I watched the show. Because that was the last thing I would see, that night, through that eye: a deep, black blood." Her new-ish boyfriend gets thrown into the role of caregiver, making sure that her insulin is drawn up correctly and that she walks down the street in a straight line. Her parents are an ocean away and predictably worried, running up her phone bill. And Lina herself has to connect with the world in a whole new way - packing a suitcase by touch instead of sight, counting steps so she doesn't trip or smash into walls. "Lina, he sighed, immersed in a sudden sadness or shyness. Lina, now even softer, holding my chin, his slimy eyes everywhere: you're blind, you're blind and dangerous. Yes, I replied, slowly. Yes, but I'm only an apprentice blind woman and I have very little ambition in the trade, and yes, almost blind and dangerous." I absolutely love Meruane's writing. It's relentless, not stopping for quotation marks or even paragraph breaks. It is fully from Lina's blind head, with more references to sound and smell than her remembered sight. "It wasn't minutes but rather hours, days, months in that waiting room, with its constant crossing and uncrossing of legs, its dragging of shoes toward the bathroom and its plopping into dilapidated chairs." Lina tore at my heart. I sat with her in too quiet rooms, absorbed diagnoses and endless insurance forms and the horror of it all. It's not a story I will easily forget.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    This book is autobiographical, but at the same time she does use fictional events. The author herself had a stroke and then she wrote this book. In first person, and with a character with the same name, except that person goes blind when her eyes start to bleed. But the author herself experienced blindness too and led that lead the way. But this does seem to be the sort of book that is better read for example in a book club so that you can discuss it with others. Because it is just so personal. W This book is autobiographical, but at the same time she does use fictional events. The author herself had a stroke and then she wrote this book. In first person, and with a character with the same name, except that person goes blind when her eyes start to bleed. But the author herself experienced blindness too and led that lead the way. But this does seem to be the sort of book that is better read for example in a book club so that you can discuss it with others. Because it is just so personal. We are always in her head. Or the sort of book that is discussed in a lit class, and then you write a paper about the writing and yada yada. Those things I have forgotten now when I am no longer in uni....yup, it is all forgotten. Because she is a good writer and she gets under the skin. I can not say a lot about the translation, I mean it is a good translation...I guess. But since I have not read the original I can not know ;) But it is rather short, and not a lot happens. She goes blind, she has an operation at the end and, yes what was up with that end? Weird and good. And before that she complains about her mother, so yes, it is a personal one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helen McClory

    A strange one, leading the reader on with winding sentences into despair or rambling, panicked thought - utterly queasy-making at the opening, but less so later. This is one of those books that I'll have to sit with to mull. Which is a good thing, I think. A strange one, leading the reader on with winding sentences into despair or rambling, panicked thought - utterly queasy-making at the opening, but less so later. This is one of those books that I'll have to sit with to mull. Which is a good thing, I think.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This was quite absorbing - I found the voice compelling and I realize that the events were based on Meruane's own life. However, I have - let's just call it "trouble" - reading about eyes, eye hemorrhages, eye surgery, and matters of that sort. So I had to skim large portions of the story, particularly the second half. Megan McDowell has won acclaim (an award?) for her translation and I liked that she retained many words in Spanish. This was in contrast to something else I read recently (trans b This was quite absorbing - I found the voice compelling and I realize that the events were based on Meruane's own life. However, I have - let's just call it "trouble" - reading about eyes, eye hemorrhages, eye surgery, and matters of that sort. So I had to skim large portions of the story, particularly the second half. Megan McDowell has won acclaim (an award?) for her translation and I liked that she retained many words in Spanish. This was in contrast to something else I read recently (trans by Sophie Hughes?) in which not a single word was left in Spanish, even when the mood called for it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michele Brack

    #43 A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision) This book was really unique. According to articles that I read about it, it's a semi-bio of what really happened to the author when the veins in her eyes burst and she lost her vision. It's written in a really unique way, as well. Like she was dictating to someone who didn't know when to start new paragraphs or capitalize, like she was talking to fast for them to type. Most of the reviews I read said they t #43 A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision) This book was really unique. According to articles that I read about it, it's a semi-bio of what really happened to the author when the veins in her eyes burst and she lost her vision. It's written in a really unique way, as well. Like she was dictating to someone who didn't know when to start new paragraphs or capitalize, like she was talking to fast for them to type. Most of the reviews I read said they thought it was hard to read and too dark, but I thought it flowed quite well and since it's this narrative of a dark subject (no pun intended) I think it's perfectly written. I especially love the openness and horror of the ending. This was an amazing book.

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