Another stumbling block here for me; this story is told in third person omniscient which enables (and answers my question of the previous post) him to tell the story from his own frame of reference and abilities. However, he is aware (obviously, since he's the one who tipped us off) that the doctor's wife still has her vision. But here, in a reflective mood, he states:
With the intimate "Take the doctor's wife, for example," as if the narrator is speaking directly to the reader ("you, take the etc."), he is inviting us to trust him. Yet we know that he is fully aware of the doctor's wife's ability to see.
There is another change in this passage; that of tense. From past, the narrator states:
True, the passage may be conversationally acceptable, but I do wonder if this has some deeper suggestion of meaning; whether it was planned for a purpose by Saramago. It could be, of course, merely something lost in the translation as well.