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The Caveby JosÃ© Saramago
This story, like the author's previous novel, All the Names, starts off with a seemingly simple plot line — almost fable-like — and develops in metaphoric and philosophic richness. Filled with wit and wisdom and finishing with a most wonderful ending, it is one of the finest works of literature to come out this season.
"This tender, allegorical story would be reason enough to read The Cave, but what truly elevates it to something essential is Saramago's style; this fantastically agile, irrepressibly funny, sympathetic, cerebral, and sometimes even corny voice. Throughout, he interrupts his tale to discuss the process of storytelling, calling into question the conventions of fiction, mocking his characters' foibles even while cradling them in his affections. He lulls us into easy interpretations only so he can foil them later on." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
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, apartments, and offices to which Cipriano delivers his pots and jugs every month. On one such trip, 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, and Cipriano and Marta set to work — until the order is cancelled and the three have to move from the village into The Center. When mysterious sounds of digging emerge from beneath their apartment, Cipriano and Marçal investigate, and what they find transforms the family's life. Filled with the depth, humor, and the extraordinary philosophical richness that marks each of Saramago's novels, The Cave is one of the essential books of our time.
"A compassionate study of loyalty, love and the ways in which people face the forces trying to obliterate their spirit." Francine Prose, People Magazine
"[T]he teensiest bit of plot is meaningfully, accessibly stretched into something enormous. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"[Saramago] brings us yet another ruefully comic and disturbing allegorical tale — a worthy companion to its superlative immediate predecessors Blindness and All the Names....Saramago is the finest living novelist, bar none." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"[A] brilliant, dark allegory....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." Publishers Weekly
"An unassuming tour de force." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Arguably the greatest writer of our time. He
"Another masterpiece from a remarkable writer who really may be, as many readers believe, the greatest living novelist." Boston Globe
"Saramago says he is really an essayist who took to writing novels. This is true. But the novels are masterly." Seattle Times
"Mr. Saramago's resisters are as appealing in The Cave as in his previous books; so are the thoughts and arguments they paddle out like ornamented battle canoes, frail and foundering." Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review
"The Cave is yet another triumph, albeit a typically melancholy one, for Portugal's, or even the world's, greatest living novelist." The Washington Post Book World
A multi-generational family saga that paints a sweeping portrait of modern Portuguese political history
A multigenerational family saga that paints a sweeping portrait of twentieth-century Portugal
First published in 1980, the City of Lisbon Prize-winning Raised from the Ground follows the changing fortunes of the Mau Tempo family—poor landless peasants not unlike Saramagos own grandparents. Set in Alentejo, a southern province of Portugal known for its vast agricultural estates, the novel charts the lives of the Mau Tempos as national and international events rumble on in the background—the coming of the republic in Portugual, the two World Wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazars life. Yet nothing really impinges on the grim reality of the farm laborers lives until the first communist stirrings.
Finally available in English, Raised from the Ground is Saramagos most deeply personal novel, the book in which he found the signature style and voice that distinguishes all of his brilliant work.
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.
About the Author
José Saramago is one of the most acclaimed writers in the world today. He is the author of numerous novels, including All the Names, Blindness, and Baltasar and Blimunda. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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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