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The Cave by Jose Saramago
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The Cave (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Jose Saramago

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1,517None4,842 (3.8)42
Member:PaulCranswick
Title:The Cave
Authors:Jose Saramago
Info:Vintage Classics (2003), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Modern Fiction
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The Cave by José Saramago (2000)

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English (17)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This is the 5th Saramago book I've read (the others being [b:The Gospel According to Jesus Christ|28859|The Gospel According to Jesus Christ|José Saramago|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328196306s/28859.jpg|2338253], [b:The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis|2536|The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis|José Saramago|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348284177s/2536.jpg|340108], [b:Blindness|2526|Blindness|José Saramago|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327866409s/2526.jpg|3213039] and [b:Seeing|47667|Seeing (Blindness, #2)|José Saramago|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328875016s/47667.jpg|1090709]), and the prose is by far the most meandering, frequently intolerably meandering, with his never-ending sentences, his usual asides and flourishes taken to even further extremes than usual, or perhaps I'm just misremembering the others, or reading this new one in a different frame of mind, less patient, more apt to find fault, really who can tell? But there is something quite strange about a book whose pages make no mention of its title until one third of the way through, as if it was somehow sheepish about the prospects of being able to adequately explain itself, and whose rear jacket tells the entire plot of the book while giving you the impression it is merely the opening premise, and whose titular cave remains nonexistent until well nigh the very end, only thirty pages remaining in the last halting but somewhat more glorious breaths it has to offer, those unassuming and unexpected final pages raising it grudgingly from two to three stars when all is said and done, like a downed fighter raising himself from the ground one last time before the inevitable knockout, a cave by which, by the way, reviewers would do better for the uninitiated if they ceased mentioning its cultural, historical and philosophical significance, or at least included a spoiler warning, I'm sure you'll agree. If you like this review there's a good chance you'll like the novel, but if you find the writing either tedious, pretentious or perhaps self-indulgent with an unpleasant side effect of distraction, I would avoid it if I were you, however still desiring to read some of Saramago's prose you might try his more famous Blindness and the even better Seeing. ( )
  blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
Though this is not Saramago's best, it's creative in the sense of the potter and the artist as well as big manufacturing vs. individual hand made. The characters are sculptors trying to adapt to the modern way their country is doing things. This is also about rural vs. city and a bit about government control but not so much as Seeing is. My favorite part in the book was when he talked about how their are little brains in our fingers. ( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
have ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
I just couldn't get into this book. Partly to blame is that I was reading some really excellent books at the same time, and it's hard for a book to overcome some really excellent writing such as Murakami and Gaddis.

No, I wasn't thrown by the run-on sentences and dialog, it's just that I felt the narrative continually looped back upon itself self-referentially, but for little reason. If you tell me how a man feels, telling me four more times isn't going to increase the penetration of the concept. I'll either have gotten it, or I won't. And no, we're not speaking of Rashomon-like repetition with a point, just telling me twice, like a grandfather.

It's not bad, nor badly written, and the translation won what seems a well-deserved prize. It just wasn't a book for me. Others will greatly enjoy it. So I cannot find fault with how the artist got to his destination, he did so fully in command of his resources. I just didn't like the destination or scenery. ( )
  wjmcomposer | Mar 31, 2013 |
In this novel, with cautious probing and subtle sarcasm, so characteristic of his writing, Jose Saramago explores the perils of modernization and so-called "progress". Apart from his down-to-earth wisdom, it's his style of writing that stands out - if there ever was a unique style it's his; reading his book is like an exercise in concentration at times: almost page-long sentences, with narrative and dialogue all one homogeneous whole; yet it never becomes boring. I must also complement the translator - it's not an easy task to translate this kind of writing, and yet the result is excellent. In this book, I have but one regret: while the relationship between the old potter and his daughter and son-in-law is quite vivid, his attachment (from incipient to full-blown) to the widow is less convincing... Very worthy book nevertheless. One of my favorite quotes: "We have to live with what is, not with what could be or might have been." ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Aug 6, 2012 |
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Epigraph
What a strange scene you describe and what strange prisoners, they are just like us.

Plato, The Republic, Book VII
Dedication
For Pilar
First words
The man driving the truck is called Cipriano Algor, he is a potter by profession and is sixty-four years old, although he certainly does not look his age.
Quotations
Cipriano Algor would like to go on luxuriating in the tranquility of his bed, to take advantage of that delicious morning sleep, which, perhaps because we are vaguely aware of it, is alway the most restoring.

Moments never arrive either late or early, they merely arrive at the right time for them, not for us, there is no need to feel grateful when what they propose happens to coincide with what we need.
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Book description
Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daugkter Marta and her husband Marcal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center, an imposing complex of shops, apartment blocks, offices, and sensation zones. Marcal 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 Marcal receives a promotion, they all move into an apartment in The Center. Soon they hear a mysterious sound of digging, and one night Marcal and Cipriano investigate. Horrified by what they discover, the family, which now includes the widow and a dog, sets off in a truck, heading for the great unknown.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156028794, Paperback)

José Saramago is a master at pacing. Readers unfamiliar with the work of this Portuguese Nobel Prize winner would do well to begin with The Cave, a novel of ideas, shaded with suspense. Spare and pensive, The Cave follows the fortunes of an aging potter, Cipriano Algor, beginning with his weekly delivery of plates to the Center, a high-walled, windowless shopping complex, residential community, and nerve center that dominates the region. What sells at the Center will sell everywhere else, and what the Center rejects can barely be given away in the surrounding towns and villages. The news for Cipriano that morning isn't good. Half of his regular pottery shipment is rejected, and he is told that the consumers now prefer plastic tableware. Over the next week, he and his grown daughter Marta grieve for their lost craft, but they gradually open their eyes to the strange bounty of their new condition: a stray dog adopts them, and a lovely widow enters Cipriano's life. When they are invited to live at the Center, it seems ungracious to refuse, but there are strange developments under the complex and a troubling increase in security, and Cipriano changes all their fates by deciding to investigate. In Saramago's able hands, what might have become a dry social allegory is a delicately elaborated story of individualism and unexpected love. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Informed that his clay pots and jugs are no longer needed, elderly potter Cipriano applies his craft to the making of ceramic dolls, but his family's subsequent successes are compromised by a terrible discovery.

(summary from another edition)

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