February282013

I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glass suspended in front of his eyes in loops of wire. Is he blind? I could understand it if he wanted to hide blind eyes. But he is not blind. The discs are dark, they look opaque from the outside, but he can see through them. He tells me they are a new invention. ‘They protect one’s eyes against the glare of the sun,’ he says. ‘You would find them useful out here in the desert. They save one from squinting all the time. One has fewer headaches. Look.’

- Waiting for the Barbarians (1980), J. M. Coetzee

I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glass suspended in front of his eyes in loops of wire. Is he blind? I could understand it if he wanted to hide blind eyes. But he is not blind. The discs are dark, they look opaque from the outside, but he can see through them. He tells me they are a new invention. ‘They protect one’s eyes against the glare of the sun,’ he says. ‘You would find them useful out here in the desert. They save one from squinting all the time. One has fewer headaches. Look.’

- Waiting for the Barbarians (1980), J. M. Coetzee

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