The Cave

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9780151004140: The Cave

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.

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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:

A Los Angeles Times Best Book
A New York Times Notable Book
"[The Cave] is yet another triumph . . . for Portugal's, or even the world's, greatest living novelist. Read it."-The Washington Post Book World

Cipriano Algor, an elderly potter, lives with his daughter Marta and her husband Marcal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center, an imposing complex of shops and apartments to which Cipriano delivers his wares. One day, he is told not to make any more deliveries. Unwilling to give up his craft, Cipriano tries his hand at making ceramic dolls. Astonishingly, The Center places an order for hundreds. But just as suddenly, the order is cancelled and the penniless three have to move from the village into The Center. When mysterious sounds of digging emerge from beneath their new apartment, Cipriano
and Marcal investigate; what they find transforms the family's life. Filled with the depth, humor, and extraordinary philosophical richness that marks each of Saramago's novels, The Cave is one of the essential books of our time.

"As with Proust, to be drawn into a Saramago sentence is to be drawn into a world that takes shape out of a maze. . . . His human voices wake us and we live."-The New York Times Book Review
JOSE SARAMAGO is one of the most acclaimed writers in the world today. He is the author of numerous novels, including All the Names and Blindness. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. -Chicago Tribune
MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today, and her previous renderings of Saramago's novels are highly acclaimed.
"

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Saramago, Jose; Costa, Margaret (translator)
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Book Description Harcourt, New York U. S. A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. Marfree, acidfree F/Fine 1stEd US, gift qual; no names, not opened, marked-in, underscored, clearance or discard. Mails from NYC usually within 12 hours. ; 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches; 307 pages; \nOnline Rev: 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 From Publishers Weekly The struggle of the individual against bureaucracy and anonymity is one of the great subjects of modern literature, and Saramago is often matched with Kafka as one of its premier exponents. Apt as the comparison is, it doesn't convey the warmth and rueful human dimension of novels like Blindness and All the Names. Those qualities are particularly evident in his latest brilliant, dark allegory, which links the encroaching sterility of modern life to the parable of Plato's cave. Widowed Cipriano Algor is a 64-year-old Portuguese potter who finds his business collapsing when the demand dries up for his elegant, handcrafted wares. His potential fate seems worse than poverty-to move with his daughter, Marta, and his son-in-law, Mar? Al Gacho, into a huge, arid complex known as "The Center, " where Gacho works as a security guard. But Algor gets an order from the Center for hundreds of small ceramic figurines, a task that has Marta and Algor hustling to meet the delivery date. Saramago's flowing, luminous prose (beautifully translated by Costa) serves him well in the early going as he portrays the intricacies of Algor's artistic life and the beginning of his friendship with a widow he meets at the cemetery. The middle chapters bog down as the author lingers over the process of creating the dolls and the family's ongoing debate over Algor's future. But Saramago makes up for the brief slow stretch with a stunning ending after the doll project crashes, when Algor becomes a resident of the Center and finds a shocking surprise in a cave unearthed beneath it. The characters are as finely crafted as Algor's pottery, and Saramago deserves special kudos for his one-dog canine chorus, a stray mutt named Found that Algor adopts as his emotional sounding board. Saramago has an extraordinary ability to make a complex narrative read like a simple parable. This remarkably generous and eloquent novel is another landmark work from an 80-year-old literary giant who remains at the height of his powers. Copyright 2002 Reed. Bookseller Inventory # 20807

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