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A writer’s humorous and often-heartbreaking tale of losing his sight—and how he hid it from the world.
At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. After high school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for Cs in his classes, Hill used his remaining blurry peripheral vision to pretend he could still see. Feigning eye contact, memorizing common routes, filling shelves with paperbacks he read via tape cassettes, he organized his life around passing for sighted. A wealth of pop culture knowledge allowed him to steer conversations from what he couldn’t see.
For fifteen years, Hill hid his blindness from friends, colleagues, and lovers, even convincing himself that if he stared long enough, things would come into focus. At thirty, faced with a stalled writing career, a crumbling marriage, and a growing fear of leaving his apartment, he began to wonder if there was a better way.
About the Author: James Tate Hill is an editor for Monkeybicycle and contributing editor at Literary Hub, where he writes a monthly audiobooks column. He has been listed in the 2019 edition of The Best American Essays and won the Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel for Academy Gothic.
"Blind Man's Bluff is a coming-of-age story worthy of its hero's stellar VHS collection of '80s and '90s movies. Hill's journey toward learning to live with his blindness will have you wincing, crying, sighing, and cheering right along with him—not to mention sharing in his love of Molly Ringwald, the Golden Girls, Prince, and Tom Cruise." - Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, bestselling author of Seinfeldia