The Cave

The Cave

Book - 2002
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Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daughter Marta and her husband Marçal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center, an imposing complex of shops, apartment blocks, offices, and sensation zones. Marçal works there as a security guard, and Cipriano drives him to work each day before delivering his own humble pots and jugs. On one such visit, he is told not to make any more deliveries until further notice. People prefer plastic, he is told; it lasts longer and doesn't break.
Unwilling to give up his craft, Cipriano tries his hand at making ceramic dolls. Astonishingly, The Center places an order for hundreds of figurines, and Cipriano and Marta set to work. In the meantime, Cipriano meets a young widow at the graves of their recently departed spouses, and a hesitant romance begins.
When Marta learns that she is pregnant and Marçal receives a promotion, they all move into an apartment in The Center. Soon they hear a mysterious sound of digging, and one night Marçal and Cipriano investigate. Horrified by the discovery, the family, which now includes the widow and a dog, sets off in a truck, heading for the great unknown.
Suffused with the depth, humor, and above all the extraordinary sense of humanity that marks each of his novels, The Cave is sure to become an essential book of our time.
Published: New York : Harcourt, Inc., c2002.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780151004140
Branch Call Number: F SAR
Characteristics: 307 p. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Costa, Margaret Jull


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Nov 06, 2019

This book deeply affected me on many levels. It is a commentary on the self, the culture--material and psychological--and the conflicts between them while maintaining the humanity and relationships between the characters. I loved it.

Mar 03, 2019

Read to p. 199

Mar 03, 2019

The Cave depicts a world that seems not so far from the horizon, where consumerism and authoritarianism are offerred as replacements for genuine being and doing. The characters in this Kafkaesque dystopian allegory are blindly captive until they see the truth of The Cave. The story is beautifully written, with much riddle and wordplay: this is not a quick read. [I read the 2013 German translation from the original Portuguese, entitled Das Zentrum (The Centre), by Marianne Gareis. This title effectively alligns Saramago's Centre, upon which the events of the novel rest, with Kafka's Castle.]

Nov 27, 2017

It is hard to categorize Saramago's books, much less his writing style. Punctuation seems to be grudgingly used and a single sentence may be an entire paragraph. He is a great storyteller; sometimes I hear him reading his books to me;)
I guess my favorite parts of his books are his rambling asides about how he refers to a dog or a man throughout, involving the readers with a "we". His pronouncements about society, marriage, death, and language hit the mark precisely, as in this passage,
"Authoritarian, paralyzing, circular, occasionally elliptical stock phrases, also jocularly referred to as nuggets of wisdom, are a malignant plague, one of the very worst ever to ravage the earth." --pg 56. He goes on to list examples that are spot on and skewer those pompous balloons of inane placatory mutterings. Better to say nothing than issue forth with one of these 'nuggets.'
Saramago's books are not to be rushed through or skimmed, thus my need to check this book out again when I had more time. I love that I have to concentrate while reading his stories.


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