I started reading the book two days ago. I am replying without reading your comments. It looks like a delightful book. the style is similar to the style of Blindness, the only other Saramago book I read. It can be tough to follow sometimes but once understood, the interconnected sentences are brilliant.
Now, about the muezzin: I have never heard of muezzins being blind. Certainly our next door neighbour who was a muezzin wasn't blind.
Guillermo, when was your trip to Istanbul, did you already go? I am wondering what you thought of the ezan (and of Turkey in general).
In my 26 years in Turkey (until 1986), I was very accustomed to the sound of the ezan which is the call for the prayer five times a day. But after I left Turkey, the number of mosques increased exponentially and the ezan can be now heard much more forcefully because every neighbourhood has a mosque. Furthermore, all the muezzins were replaced by tape recordings, so nobody has to wake up in the middle of the night to climb the minaret to sing the ezan, it is all automatic and extremely loud.
When I was in high school and in university, I had the habit of waking up very early (4-5 am) in the morning, to study. Every morning, in the darkness of the winter the neighbour would walk out of the apartment building next door (I would hear his footsteps on the terrace that lead to the street) and then get into his car and drive away. This always happened shortly before the ezan time. I spent years wondering what his job was. It all made sense when I finally learned that he was the muezzin at the neighbourhood mosque.
Back to the book, I love the first chapter, the interaction between the proof-reader and the author. But at least half of the time I was not able to identify who was saying what. Does anyone have any intentions of converting the first chapter into a dialogue written with a more standard system, using quotation marks and line breaks? Anyone one who has sometime on his hands? If anyone is interested, I can start the process, I can attempt to separate the words of the two men. But I need help.
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