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La Caverna (the Cave) (Spanish) Paperback – Feb 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Alfaguara (February 2001)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 8420442283
  • ISBN-13: 978-8420442280
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,593,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This is the novel Saramago was writing when he won the Nobel Prize in 1998. La caverna has the abundant compassion, subtlety, and wit of his earlier works, such as Blindness (Ensayo sobre la ceguera, Alfaguara, 1995), with rich character development and touches of his familiar magical realism. This uncomplicated story about complex modern issues is as troubling and revelatory as it is deeply humanistic. With its tiny cast of characters and few settings, the story only appears simple: an aging artisan finds that his handmade clay utensils have ceased to satisfy consumer tastes driven by an omnipotent residential shopping center, a modern colossus of convenience. When the potter and his family must abandon their house in the country and move into that shopping center, profound disorientation and a shocking discovery set their world on edge. Saramago's eerily dystopian descriptions of the center are replete with his customary absurdist touches. An indoor zoo, beach, and roller coaster, and weather generated for the entertainment of residents create a chimerical world suggestive of Plato's cave where residents need never leave the building. This translation, in the hands of the author's wife of a dozen years, Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio, shines with admirable clarity and economy. Enthusiastically recommended for all bookstores and libraries. Bruce Jensen, UCLA Graduate Sch. of Latin American Studies and Information Studies
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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By T. Stroll on Nov. 26 2001
Format: Paperback
I had the honor of meeting José Saramago at a book-signing in Lisbon's Chiado district shortly after he won the Nobel Prize in 1998. At the time, I wondered if receiving the prize would cause my favorite novelist to sit back and write nothing worthy of note, or nothing at all.
Fortunately, "The Cavern" bears the earmarks of earnestness, diligence, and love of the Portuguese language that characterize Saramago's earlier works. But as a novel it's disappointing. The characters are ordinary and there's not much of a plot.
The central theme of "The Cavern" is that a giant, impersonal, and arrogantly managed shopping center, the Centro, is spreading like an oil slick and sucking the commercial life out of the region. The main character, Cipriano Algor, an artisan potter living in a rural hamlet and eking out a living selling dishes to the Centro, is one of the shopping complex's victims. The Centro treats its suppliers ruthlessly: work with us according to the one-sided terms we impose or we'll dispense with you; and we'll dispense with you anyway when you're no longer useful to us. And the Centro no longer wants to sell Algor's stoneware; its customers prefer plastic tableware that's cheaper and less breakable.
Thus, much of the novel consists of the petty indignities the Centro visits on the desperate and humiliated Algor, a situation complicated by the fact that Marçal Gacho, Algor's live-in son-in-law, is a security guard for the Centro and wants to move there with his wife Marta.
There's a plot there, but it's thin, and it's stifled by overlong narratives, asides, and commentaries that dominate the novel. "The Cavern" is like an opera with much singing and little action.
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Format: Paperback
Do you ever feel like the world around you, the concrete and steel world, has wrapped you in its austere façade? Do you ever feel like the beauty of individuality is hidden in a world that cares not for the human spirit but for the technological advancement of society? Do you ever feel like you would love to embrace your talent for art and carry out the tasks that enhance your reason for existence, but you find that your job at the big corporation consumes all your time and energy? Do you ever feel threatening fear that your abilities may become obsolete and that society may dispose of you at any moment? Saramago's Characters in La Caverna feel like this when they find out that the corporation that buys their ceramic pottery and sells it to the public, will no longer purchase their obsolete products. The book's captivating flow of occurrences unleashes a series of thoughts in the characters' minds as to existence and the due respect for love and life in general. Great book. Once you start reading it, you will not put it down until it is finished.
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Format: Paperback
La Caverna José Saramago
Carta del nieto de Cipriano Algor encontrada en la sala de su casa y dirigida a sus padres.
Un día desperté a la luz de las estrellas, me encontré perdido en un mar de gente que pasaba a mi lado, todos con la vista puesta en algo. Y así, caminante errante, partí sin rumbo en busca de una salida. Pero salida hacia donde? No estaba dentro de la vida misma. Como era posible escapar a la vida, vivir otra existencia fuera de la mía, de vagabundo errante por el mundo. Vi que podía ver cosas que los demás no podían, pero el mundo era tan inmenso que me costaba trabajo creer que la única persona que pudiese ver las cosas tal y como son, o tal y como yo creía que eran era yo. Por eso era un inadaptado, un paria dentro del grupo social en el cual vivía, un loco u n alienado, un tonto, un holgazán. Me pasaba los días tratando de encontrar una salida mientras los demás se pasaban la vida disfrutando, absortos en la visión de lo que ellos creían que era la felicidad extrema, la dicha, la pasión, el amor. Pero yo sabia que había algo mas allá de las cosas y tenia que averiguarlo. Por fin con paciencia e ingenio logre encontrar en uno de los pisos altos de la edificación una grieta que me condujo al mundo externo. Mi impresión fue tal que no pude dejar de lanzar un grito de libertad. Durante tanto tiempo había vivido encerrado en ese centro que era el mundo, con sus colegios, iglesias, tiendas, con su aire acondicionado y sin mas luz que aquella artificial que iluminaba como un eterno sol y que cuando era niño había confundido con lo que mis padres habían llamado estrellas.
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This is a beautiful, beautiful book. In a bleak and artificial world, Cipriano is a simple potter whose profession is becoming obsolete. The Center, a gigantic commercial center that seems to be taking over the whole city, decides it no longer needs Cipriano's pots, plates and mugs, leaving him to struggle with his family to find new ways to survive and try to somehow hold on to his way of life in a world where people like him are becoming extinct. On his side, trees,a house, simple life,a stray dog that settles in to live with the family, everything symbolizes the simple life that's slowly vanishing from the planet. On the other side, and growing bigger every day, the Center, with its high gray walls and hermetic windows(because of the air-conditioning, they say, but people wonder if it isn't to avoid something else...). Will Cipriano's world be swallowed by the Center? The book is so wonderfully written, you won't be able to put it down but at the same time you'll feel sad that it's ending. I highly recommend this book.
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