Andrew Leland’s “The Country of the Blind”
By LARB Radio HourAugust 18, 2023
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Andrew Leland joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to talk about his first book, The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight. The book recounts Leland’s experience of gradually losing his vision due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which eventually results in blindness. The knowledge that it’s not a question of if, but when he will become blind, leads him to a deeper investigation of blindness itself: how it is represented in literature, language, and media; what its political and racial dimensions are; the connection it has to technology and innovation; how it can both shape identity and also feel incidental to it. Most importantly, Leland relates the ways blindness is actually experienced by the many people he meets and writes about in his book. Their testimonies help him reckon with the two worlds he finds himself in—the blind and the sighted—and close the gap between them.
Also, Heidi Julavits, author of Directions To Myself, returns to recommend David Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration.
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