La Caverna (the Cave)

Jose Saramago, Author Alfaguara $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-84-204-4228-0
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
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-53798-6
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Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-15-100414-0
Paperback - 978-968-19-0727-3
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