Sight Unseen - Kleege, Georgina - Yale University Press

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Sight Unseen

  • Georgina Kleege
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Nominated for a 2001 TORGI (Talking Book of the Year) Award in the category of Partner-Produced Non-fiction awarded by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind

This elegantly written book offers an unexpected and unprecedented account of blindness and sight. Legally blind since the age of eleven, Georgina Kleege draws on her experiences to offer a detailed testimony of visual impairment—both her own view of the world and the world’s view of the blind. “I hope to turn the reader’s gaze outward, to say not only ‘Here’s what I see’ but also ‘Here’s what you see,’ to show both what’s unique and what’s universal,” Kleege writes.

Kleege describes the negative social status of the blind, analyzes stereotypes of the blind that have been perpetuated by movies, and discusses how blindness has been portrayed in literature. She vividly conveys the visual experience of someone with severely impaired sight and explains what she can see and what she cannot (and how her inability to achieve eye contact—in a society that prizes that form of connection—has affected her). Finally she tells of the various ways she reads, and the freedom she felt when she stopped concealing her blindness and acquired skills, such as reading braille, as part of a new, blind identity. Without sentimentality or clichés, Kleege offers us the opportunity to imagine life without sight.

Georgina Kleege is a novelist, essayist, and translator. Her most recent book is the novel Home for the Summer. She has taught writing and literature courses at the University of Oklahoma and at The Ohio State University.