A review of Jose Saramago’s ‘The Cave’

The CaveThe Cave by José Saramago
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished it, a few minutes back and hence I am still there, happily floating in that intensely rich narrative weave of his. This is what struck me when I began the book too, the unique( at least for me) narrative style. Long, long, long sentences, teasing you to pause, conversations tumbling through the sentences, words building upon words. No quotes, no ease of syntax. It goes beyond mere language and breathes in a long whisper, an enigmatic entity all by its own.

This entity is no ordinary narrator, it feels like a soul floating free, a writer’s keenly observing soul most certainly, attaching itself to the various characters, to the humans, to the dog, to the kiln, to the clay creations, to the mulberry tree and to the free floating thoughts of the universe. It often goes into tedious repetitions, a sort of chain reaction of thoughts, an unbridled indulging in that unique fancy.

Cipriano Algor, the ageing potter, his good son-in-law, Marcal, his daughter Marta and their small house and pottery unit by the mulberry tree near the village. The beauty of the work they do. The beauty of simple living. The work that is soon going to lack takers due to cheaper, lighter alternatives like plastic. And then their connection to the Centre, the Centre which is the huge concrete establishment that deals with all the goods and only with goods; more than just a mall, a monstrosity that controls all the buying and the selling and indirectly the people.

A fascinating allegory. Poetic and heart-warming.

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