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La caverna = A caverna (Punto De Lectura) by…

La caverna = A caverna (Punto De Lectura) (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Jose Saramago, Pilar Del Rio (Translator)

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2,371485,683 (3.83)52
A number of 1998 Nobel Prize Laureate José Saramago's great works in a convenient pocket format. Text copyright 2003 Lectorum Publications, Inc.
Title:La caverna = A caverna (Punto De Lectura)
Authors:Jose Saramago
Other authors:Pilar Del Rio (Translator)
Info:Punto de Lectura (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 441 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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The Cave by José Saramago (2000)


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English (29)  Spanish (8)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Arabic (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (48)
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“Cipriano Algor put the spade down and plunged his two hands into the ashes. He touched the thin and unmistakable roughness of the fired clay. Then, as if he were helping at a birth, he grasped between thumb, forefinger, and middle finger the still buried head of a figurine and pulled it out. It happened to be the nurse. He brushed the ashes from her body and blew on her face, as if he were endowing her with some kind of life, giving to her the breath of his own lungs, the beating of his own heart.” - José Saramago, The Cave

Protagonist Cipriano Algor, an artisan living in the country with his daughter and son-in-law, sells his handmade tableware to the Center. The Center’s agent tells Cipriano his services are no longer required, so he attempts to find another way to make money from his skill as a potter. It is a story of everyday life involving a family, a stray dog, a budding relationship, and how these people deal with change.

This book requires patience, as the meaning of The Cave is not apparent until the end. It is not for anyone looking for plot-driven action. As is typical of Saramago, it is written in stream-of-consciousness without quotation marks or separation of dialogue, so the reader has to keep track mentally. He strings together a series of words to convey many shades of meaning.

It is a story of human (and animal) connections in uncertain times, how people can deceive themselves, and how we maintain our illusions rather than confronting the truth. It is a social commentary on the increasing artificiality of our world. I think it is particularly pertinent to our present time.

I embark annually on a project to read five works from a notable author. This year I picked Portuguese author José Saramago, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. This is the fifth of five for the year. I just loved it and am adding it to my list of favorites.

In case anyone is interested, these are the others I have read. His work is consistently high quality.

[a:José Saramago|1285555|José Saramago|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1497455560p2/1285555.jpg]: 2020
- [b:Blindness|2526|Blindness|José Saramago|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1327866409l/2526._SY75_.jpg|3213039] - 4 stars - My Review
- [b:The Stone Raft|39968691|The Stone Raft|José Saramago|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1524777696l/39968691._SY75_.jpg|864507] by [a:José Saramago|1285555|José Saramago|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1497455560p2/1285555.jpg] - 4 stars - My Review
- [b:The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis|38824970|The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis|José Saramago|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1519766070l/38824970._SX50_.jpg|340108] - 4 stars - My Review
- [b:The History of the Siege of Lisbon|13065136|The History of the Siege of Lisbon|José Saramago|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1328325338l/13065136._SX50_.jpg|1109068] - 3 stars - My Review ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
this book gave me huge aching smiles on my face. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
This is a sardonic condemnation of the commercialization, relentless and dehumanizing technological development, and desensitizing inflexible bureaucracy of capitalism. A potter, his daughter, and his son-in-law live in a small, antiquated village outside the city, where the ever-expanding Center, representing all that is modern, looms. The family depends for its livelihood on the Center, where the potter sells his wares and the son-in-law works as a security guard, awaiting a promotion that will allow the family to move in permanently.

Saramago, as always, treats his characters with irony and tenderness. He also made me laugh out loud with his self-referential observations about writing and narrative, like this one, which is even funnier if you're familiar with his idiosyncratic punctuation and his habit of seemingly irrelevant but often most illuminating digressions:

"The trouble with digressions is the ease with which the digressor can become distracted by diversions, making him lose the thread of words and events, as has just happened to Found [the dog], who caught only the second half of the following words spoken by Cipriano Algor, which is why, as you will notice, they do not start with a capital letter, that's it, I won't go running after her any more, said the potter, obviously he wasn't referring to the above-mentioned capital letter, since he doesn't use them when he speaks, but to the woman called Isaura Estudiosa." ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
One would think that reading a book without quotation marks or paragraphs separating speakers would be very difficult and confusing, but this one wasn't. In fact it carried me along quite nicely. Perhaps because the old man and his daughter had lived together long enough that they knew what each other would say and there was no need to separate who said what. Perhaps because their voices were different enough that it was generally obvious who said what. This is not a relationship I have ever experienced, but it is one I almost envy, if 'envy' weren't a pejorative word.
It is a story of common people, villagers, with a simple daily life revolving around their work in their family pottery. Yet Cipriano's regular journeys to the big town show us that this village is on the edge of a zone of environmental destruction caused by the mega-corp that is taking over the city. We don't know where this is located and therefore can easily imagine it is here in our country. We know such a mega-corp. We fear for the continuation of our own village life.
In the first 50 pages I had jotted down dozens of homely aphorisms, charmed by new ways of looking at daily existence. Lo and behold, the author now speaks to the reader (p.56), acknowledging his use of aphorisms and how useless they are in difficult circumstances. I am charmed by the author acknowledging my existence, and, in later passages, taking the time to interrupt his story to explain what he will or will not tell us, meanwhile giving the story time to unfold as it will.
I enjoyed getting to know Cipriano, Marta, and Marcal; their love and support for each other, their good humor in trying times, their acceptance of what the other needs. And even tho I didn't learn enough to become a potter myself, we do learn quite a bit about the steps in creating items from clay the old-fashioned way.
I was, however, very surprised at the ending. Since Cipriano called the repository where he put his reject work a 'cave,' I had imagined people discovering these rejects and cherishing them as unique/quaint/charming. Well, what else could happen to provide a livelihood for this village family? ( )
  juniperSun | Sep 12, 2020 |
Eh. Saramago is a great writer, but this was well-written & tedious. ( )
  tombrown | Feb 21, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
José Saramagoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kort, Maartje deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pàmies, XavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What a strange scene you describe and what strange prisoners, they are just like us.

Plato, The Republic, Book VII
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.
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.
...some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don't understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters...unless each reader is his or her own shore, and that shore is the only shore worth reaching. (p.62)
...very few people are aware that in each of our fingers...there is a tiny brain...the organ which we call the brain...has only ever had very general, vague, diffuse and, above all, unimaginative ideas about what the hands and fingers should do....the fingers are not born with brains, these develop gradually with the passage of time and with the help of what the eyes see....(p.66-67)
only with the invisible knowledge of the fingers will one ever be able to paint the infinite fabric of dreams. (p.68)
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A number of 1998 Nobel Prize Laureate José Saramago's great works in a convenient pocket format. Text copyright 2003 Lectorum Publications, Inc.

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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.
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