The Cave by Jose Saramago

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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.

About Jose Saramago

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JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922-2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Published October 15, 2003 by Mariner Books. 322 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Cave

Kirkus Reviews

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Out of work, “useful” only to the younger widow he’s attracted to and to a devoted stray dog (which he whimsically names “Found”) that seems to have come to him “from another world,” Cipriano prepares for retirement within the Center—until his accidental discovery of the truth hidden in its reces...

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Entertainment Weekly

Two teenage Dutch boys, Axel and Egon, meet on a camping trip to Belgium.

Nov 24 2000 | Read Full Review of The Cave

Entertainment Weekly

Although the front flap for the latest novel from the Nobel-winning Portuguese author promises ''an essential book of our time,'' not even SparkNotes could write a more succinctly plot-spoiling story synopsis than the one on that same front flap.

Nov 15 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cave

Deseret News

In the meantime, his son-in-law works as a security guard at The Center, where he, his wife and Algor will eventually live — in a small, clean apartment without windows.

Dec 01 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cave


At the heart of Nobel Prize winner Saramago's haunting new novel is an elderly widower named Cipriano, a potter who sells his wares through the Center—a surreal, futuristic and more than slightly sinister residential and commercial complex.

Dec 16 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cave

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