A Caverna by José Saramago

By José Saramago

Uma pequena olaria, um centro comercial gigantesco... Um mundo em rápido processo de extinção, outro que cresce e se multiplica como um jogo de espelhos onde não parece haver limites para a ilusão enganosa.Este romance fala de um modo de viver que vai sendo cada vez menos o nosso e assoma-se à entrada de um courageous new global cujas consequências sobre a mentalidade humana são cada vez mais visíveis e ameaçadoras. Todos os dias se extinguem espécies animais e vegetais, todos os dias há profissões que se tornam inúteis, idiomas que deixam de ter pessoas que os falem, tradições que perdem sentido, sentimentos que se convertem nos seus contrários... Fim de século, fim de milénio, fim de civilização. Uma família de oleiros compreende que deixou de ser necessária ao mundo. Como uma serpente que despe a pele para poder crescer noutra que mais adiante se há-de tornar pequena, o centro comercial diz à olaria: Morre já não preciso de ti. Em A Caverna José Saramago enfrenta-se ao processo acelarado de desumanização que estamos vivendo. Com os dois romances anteriores Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira e Todos os Nomes - este novo livro forma um tríptico em que o Autor deixou inscrita a sua visão do mundo genuine, da sociedade humana tal como a vivemos. Não mudaremos de vida se não mudarmos a vida.

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Servants accumulate the . 48 privileges of misery. The demonstrations of pity, the ridicule, the handouts, the token help, the humiliations they put up with make them powerful. They save up the instruments of venge­ ance because their coarse warty hands collect, bit by bit, that other side of their employers-the useless, discarded side, the filth and the sordidness that, trusting and sentimental, they've been putting into their servants' hands with the insult of each shabby skirt they give them, each nightgown scorched by the iron.

There are four of us-no, Rita con­ fessed that she had confided her first suspicions to Dora, who knew how to write too and filled in for her in the doorkeeper's office, jotting down telephone messages left by Father Azocar and the relatives and former employers of the inmates . . They were five, then. And, when they noticed Rosa Perez start­ ing to hang around them, itching to know what they were al. 46 ways up to with Iris, Brigida, who had a head on her shoulders, thought they'd better tell the blabbermouth about the miracle, to be on the safe side, or else, with all that poking around, she'd find them out and then, good Lord, the whole Casa would come down on them, she might even take it into her head to call up the Archbishop and report them; yes, better tell her the whole thing.

2 THE OLD WOMEN leave the kitchen in pairs or in groups as if they were going, not to bed, but to melt back into the dark­ ness. Inside the kitchen cluttered with benches, with marble tables greasy with leftovers, with pots stacked in the stopped-up sinks like monuments made of soot and grease, the women's voices slowly die out, like the embers, with the passing of the hours and the minutes that never seem to pass. The last ones to leave were always the six women sitting at the table nearest the stove's heat, around Brigida, a group of intimates I always saw fluttering around Iris Mateluna, plying her with candy and magazines, enjoying themselves by giving her the most incredible hairdos, as if they were playing with a doll.

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