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Blind Man's Bluff by James Tate Hill

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Blind Man's Bluff

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, he 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. app and screens

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About the author

James Tate Hill is the author of a memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff, released August 3, 2021 from W. W. Norton. His fiction debut, Academy Gothic, won the Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel. His essays were Notable in the 2019 and 2020 editions of Best American Essays. He serves as fiction editor for Monkeybicycle and contributing editor for Literary Hub, where he writes a monthly audiobooks column. Born in Charleston, WV, he lives in North Carolina with his wife.

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