Book Review: The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
Published August 2017
Calvin Cooper is the sheriff of a small, secluded Texas town, dubbed The Blinds, where people who are exceptionally bad or exceptionally victimized live after erasing that part of their memories.
The official name of this off little town is Caesura, but they call it The Blinds.
The meaning of caesura is a pause, or break. For all 40-odd inhabitants, that’s exactly what the town is. A permanent pause from their previous lives.
The deal is simple. They have the worst parts of their memories erased. Multiple murders, traumatic events, gone. Then, they live out their days in this isolated little town, with regular shipments of necessities and no contact with the outside world.
Citizenship is optional. But leaving usually means death. Nice option.
Cal Cooper and the townspeople call Caesura “The Blinds” because they’re blind to key parts of their identities, both their own and each others’.
But can a person’s identity truly be erased? Can it rush back, flooding that empty hole in their minds? What makes the fabric of a person? Surely it goes beyond memories. Even with evil acts erased, wouldn’t the evil proclivities remain?
“Their minds may not remember who they are, but their muscles do.”
The little hamlet can’t last forever. There are too many bad citizens with depraved instincts and ransoms too big to resist. And erasing memories as a sort of human science experiment is morally ambiguous, especially when the subject doesn’t fully know or agree to what’s happening.
Also morally ambiguous: good ole Sheriff Cal.
Plus, Iâ€™m still not sure what I think about the sheriff. Itâ€™s nice to have characters with grime on them. But Sheriff Cal is too deep in the muck.
Part western, part science fiction, part thriller, wholly fascinating. Sternbergh creates a town where deplorable people become simple-minded handymen and outsiders become predators.
The distinction between good and evil is malleable, and we’re blinded to who is on which side.