The Cave

The Cave cover
Whew, what a book. Let me begin by giving you a taste:
The day before is what we bring to the day we’re actually living through, life is a matter of carrying along all those days-before just as someone might carry stones, and when we can no longer cope with the load, the work is done.
And:
… because contrary to what people say, two weaknesses don’t make for a still greater weakness, but for renewed strength …
Still not convinced? Read someone who has written about this book in a manner far superior than mine. Now you can read my thoughts…
I bought this book at the latest Strand sale, because I had read about it here, and I was getting a hardcover book worth $22 for Rs. 250. That’s a great deal.I didn’t know what to expect of the book, and was somewhat put off by the prose style at first. Thank god I was at a place where I had pretty much nothing else to do but read; I fear I may have given up on the book otherwise. The Cave tells the tale of Cipriano Algor, an aging potter who lives somewhere at the outskirts of an unnamed Portuguese city. The city’s dying, and quickly getting swallowed up by The Center; an über-mall of sorts. At the start of the book, The Center starts off seeming slightly weird, and by the end it’s all kinds of crazy (and scary) to think about. Cipriano’s just been told that his skills are obsolete, that The Center has no more need of his goods. He’s left with the prospect of facing his old age un-employed, as someone who’s a burden to others. To him it seems that his whole existence has been rendered meaningless. With Cipriano lives his daughter, Marta. They share a bond that’s awe-inspiring. Marta’s husband, Marçal, works at The Center as a security guard, and is hoping for a promotion to ‘resident guard’ status, which means he’ll be able to move into The Center. Rounding off the cast is the widow-next-door, and a lost dog named Found. Found leads us to some of the most endearing moments of the book. Ah, I could keep on writing about this book for a long time. But I’ll cut it short for now. Just a few more paragraphs. The book leads to many wonderful insights, stuff that I’m sure everyone’s thought about but never quite formed into words. It is also a great insight into the human mind—the ones that are interesting at least. The title refers to one very well-known allegory. I didn’t get it until the very last sentence though. Let me just end here, so that anyone who’s read this far into the post leaves with a slight dis-satisfaction. Which may lead to someone else actually reading the book as well. Very evil of me… Me, I’ve ordered a copy of The Double, also by José Saramago to read next.