Planet of the Blind

A haunting, brilliantly imagined memoir about coming to terms with near blindness, this is the story of a lost man with a speck of something like seeing Born prematurely, Stephen Kuusisto has been fractionally sighted since a post natal operation severely damaged his retinas Yet he grew up pretending he could see Planet of the Blind tells his story the years of a loA haunting, brilliantly imagined memoir about coming to terms with near blindness, this is the story of a lost man with a speck of something like seeing Born prematurely, Stephen Kuusisto has been fractionally sighted since a post natal operation severely damaged his retinas Yet he grew up pretending he could see Planet of the Blind tells his story the years of a lonely childhood spent behind bottle lens glasses, the consuming fear of ridicule and derision, the struggle through college that brings him from obesity to anorexia With his nose pressed into the spine of a book in furious attempts to read, riding a bicycle at insane speeds, never truly knowing the face of his first lover, he stumbles through half a lifetime enraged and mortified.This is the record of a handicapped life but it is also an extraordinary literary achievement Kuusisto has managed to translate his opaque, kaleidoscopic world of shape and colour into poetic and luminous prose Planet of the Blind conveys life as it is lived by one whose visual impressions are at once beautiful and largely useless , and for whom normality is continuously transformed by his blindness into an intense aesthetic experience.
Planet of the Blind A haunting brilliantly imagined memoir about coming to terms with near blindness this is the story of a lost man with a speck of something like seeing Born prematurely Stephen Kuusisto has been fra

  • Title: Planet of the Blind
  • Author: Stephen Kuusisto
  • ISBN: 9780571196968
  • Page: 292
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Planet of the Blind”

    1. A riveting read. To grow up blind in a family who refuse to acknowledge the blindness or make any allowances for it seems at best bizarre and at worst hideously abusive. Stephen Kuusisto tells his extra-ordinary story and somehow refrains from labelling his family with either of these epithets. That Stephen is now able to embrace his disability has found a new freedom through his guide dog Corky , and has a job that makes good use of all his talents makes this an inspiring and life affirming sto [...]

    2. I loved this book about a man and the guide dog who helped him find his way. The book isn't a sentimental love story about a man and his dog but rather a compelling story about a man whose unwilligness to acknowledge his visual limitations put him at mortal risk. The author is a poet and the prose is very lyrical. I read this book years ago but still think of it often and with great affection. It is an amazing journey which brings him to the dog that would finally help him to see in so many ways [...]

    3. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I base this simply on the fact that it is a book I’ve needed to read, and I wished that I had read a long while ago: a memoir by a blind man. A well-written, literate, sometimes funny, sometimes sad story that describes many of the same travails I’ve experienced myself.But I suppose I should back up a step and say that the best thing about Kuusisto’s voice here is not that he is a blind man speaking about being blind. What makes this such a g [...]

    4. I just finished reading Planet of the Blind for the second time, and it is absolutely amazing & stunning in the beauty of the language!Stephen Kuusisto was born in the 50's, legally blind (he can see flashes of color, shifting shapes "by turns magical and disturbing"). Wishing to spare him the stigma and loneliness of being labelled handicapped, his parents taught him to deny his blindness, to try to "pass" as sighted. So he went to public school, rode a bike, tried to read with books presse [...]

    5. A lovely book about a man who fought his blindness for most of his life. Following his journey from "I can't admit I'm blind, I have to pass or no one will want to know me" and finally to "okay, I'm blind and I need help", it's beautifully written (he's a poet) and a great insight into visual impairments and the coping mechanisms people develop (photographic memory to memorise walking routes and books, pretending to be drunk/clumsy when running into things). I nearly cried when he finally gave i [...]

    6. This is an absolutely amazing memoir of being legally blind since birth. The author was raised before the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by parents who didn't want to acknowledge his blindness and by a relatively unsympathetic public school system. Despite those facts, he somehow madly rode his bicycle, charged through life, and achieved advanced degrees in poetry and literature. Written with both wry humor and some very real pain, one can't help but be amazed by the author's ten [...]

    7. A beautifully written and at times painfully honest memoir about the author's experience growing up legally blind with parents who did not or were not able to accept Kuusisto's limited and failing vision.Not fully blind, not fully sighted, the author lives in what he describes as "the customs-house of the blind", a midway point between vision and blindness that makes possible his unique perception of the world.He literally stumbled through the first couple of decades of life without a white cane [...]

    8. Stephen Kuusisto's autobiography is amazingly well written. The use of his poetical language contrasts with the horror of his impossible situation - taught by his parents to ignore his visual impairment. It's his story as he stumbles through life often riding a bicycle, gaining degrees in poetry and literature and his bouts of anorexia and binge eating. Then how his life changes when he meets Corky and you see how important that friendship becomes.

    9. This is an inspiring memoir about the author's blindness. How he "passes" as a sighted person for much of his life is both amazing and torturing to consider, and finally his acceptance of himself as he is led me to think about how much we can learn from his account.

    10. Cieco è uno che non vede, ma ci sono moltissimi modi di non vedere, e il buio può essere pieno di colori cangianti come l'arcobaleno e forme come nuvole nel vento. Un mondo meraviglioso ma incompatibile con la vita di ogni giorno, con lo studio, con i viaggi, con la spesa. Eppure fin da piccolo Stephen cerca di vivere come un vedente, sfidando la sorte ad ogni attraversamento di strada, ad ogni viaggio, mentendo a tutti e soprattutto a se stesso, e provocandosi ferite e pene, soprattutto psico [...]

    11. I read this book to help me get a (small) sense of what it's like to be blind. It was my after-hours book down at the National Beep Baseball Association World Series, and it gave me some great stuff to chew on. Kuusisto is especially smart about the patronizing attitude with which many treat the blind, and, then again, the necessary help he's received.A few baseball-specific lines were especially welcome as I considered all these guys playing ball:“I hear wasps striking windows, and a hand mow [...]

    12. A beautiful novel depicting a man's reluctance to accept his visual impairment and the struggles he faced throughout life. Exceptional, both as an autobiography and a coming of age novel in its own right. It's laced with stunning imagery and description that leaves you in disbelief that the author couldn't see what he wrote about and leaves you baffled that sighted people often miss the everyday beauty that he so effectively captured in words. The novel has a quality that I'd be tempted to call [...]

    13. 2,5 stars.I'm a little disappointed because I expected to read something very new to me and something interesting.But no. This book is pretty much like every other "oh, so artistic" book with all its weird methaphors and poem extracts.For an autobiography this was (in my opinion) too dull and slow to read, which is sad because visual impairment/blindness is a very interesting topic.Kuusisto is a very talented writer and I'd enjoy his way of writing in any other sort of literature. I would've rat [...]

    14. This is an excellent memoir. I have only good things to say about the way Kuusisto makes the reader experience something close to blindness with his descriptive and mood-setting skills. His book is thoughtful and searching, and he's endearingly honest. If you are a poet or writer of any kind, you will find this book even more interesting than will others who are not writers, but it's a winner either way. Kuusisto is smart, and he crafts exquisite prose. I now want to read his poetry as well.

    15. Lyrical, insightful and deeply personal, this book is a work of art. The author is brutally honest, even sharing his bouts with binge eating, then anorexia as well as trichotillomania when anxious. The bond between a once-fearful man who tried to keep his blindness a secret and his guide dog, Corky, is lovely.

    16. I learned a lot about being blind, and about being Steve Kuusisto. This book is so beautiful and gut wrenching. REally heartbreaking, but then has a happy ending.

    17. Planet of the Blind is a brilliant written memoir of one man's experience with visual impairment. His lyrical description of how he sees the world is captivating. I learned so much about what it means to be ableist, without any sort of confrontation or bullying from the author. I heartily recommend this to anyone interested in learning about disability and how difficult it is to navigate this world, not only as one that is unable to see well, but as one that is unable to see well that is attempt [...]

    18. This book is a memoir of the author. This book is about the author's journey where he struggled with his blindness. Clearly, the author is addicted to poetry and pursued this as his passion. I read some poetry, though not often, there's so much in there I wonder where my literature history has gone. :-( If poetry is what you like, go for this book. If not, there's a lot of references to the numerous poets and a strong use of analogies between poetry and the author's experience with blindness. Fo [...]

    19. A wonderful memoir of growing up with severe vision impairment at a time and in a family that did little to acknowledge it and practically nothing to assist. Kuusisto provides brilliant descriptions of what he sees and feels as he careens about in death-defying bike riding and confidence over prudence journeys. The slim book covers his transition from denial to freedom as he gradually comes to accept his vision problems and bonds with a guide dog. Reading about the training with the guide dog wa [...]

    20. This is a beautifully written book that I would not have read except that it was chosen by a friend for our book club. I am so in awe of the author's use of language. Reading this book makes me feel that I could never write a book, because I could never write so beautifully! My words would be dull and gray and stumble in the dark compared to the kaleidoscope of color from this almost blind author. It also opened my eyes (!) to issues of disability and how we treat the disabled - no, and how I tr [...]

    21. I should let you know that I had to speed read this book for class over my spring break, so that affected the rating. (Meaning, because I read it so fast, I didn't have a chance to really get an emotional feel for the book.) Anyway, Kuusisto is a good writer, and I do think the book is important and good to read. One of my main problems with it is that it's written in present tense. I'm not sure why, but it bothered me.*Reread slowly and more critically for a paper. Changed rating to a four. *Re [...]

    22. I could finish this. Mainly due to the gruelling subject. This man's parents made him grow up pretending he could see because they didn't want the stigma of having a blind child. They insisted he went to a state school without any support instead of a shool which would have helped him manage his blindness. His Mum even bought him a bicycle to use on the roads. It's a miracle he lived to be an adult. I couldn't stand to read about the daily bullying and terror he lived with due to his irresponsib [...]

    23. heel mooi! Kuusisto schrijft poetisch en bloemig maar hij komt er heel goed mee weg. het is ook een ontluisterend verhaal: tot zijn 38ste houdt hij vol dat hij (nagenoeg) blind is. Dus hij stapt op de fiets, maakt reizen en studeeert literatuur, allemaal met een enorme dubbele handicap: hij is niet alleen blind, hij kan het ook niet toegeven.De laatste hoofdstukken over zijn blindengeleidehond zijn prachtig en leerzaam: ik dacht dat ik wist hoe het werken met zo'n hond werkte maar ik leerde er s [...]

    24. Finally a book that's about someone like me, who understands acronyms like ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) and what it's like to have 20/200 vision! Although the book delved more into his school life and less about his visual impairment than I would have liked, I enjoyed this book very much and it makes me very glad to have been born at a time when things like IEPs, special education classes and so on exist.

    25. Great insight into the mind and life of a blind person. Especially one who had been taught not to face his blindness but to just live as if it wasn't there. Big emotional growth for him to get where he ended up. Well done. And a big Hurray for guide dogs! They are wonderful companions and such a help and good team players. Wonderful to see how much Stephen blossomed after meeting his dog Corkey.GO Corkey!

    26. This book is a tour of the world seen through the eyes of a legally blind poet. Kuusisto captures an idea of blindness that even sighted people understand, something deeper than just loss of sight. His physical blindness suggests he can't see, but his reader begins to understand that sight is far more intellectual than physical in Planet of the Blind. The book is lyrical and understated and is much like visual art in the images it inspires.

    27. Wow! A great memoir describing, in short, lyrical (The New York Times applied this adjective to this book and I agree) passages one man's conversion from blindness to sight, though he never regained the use of his eyes. A longer review of this book appears at cloquetriverpress.I highly recommend this for any reader who loves poetry, great memoir, good storytelling, and anyone with Finnish heritage. You won't be disappointed.Mark

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