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The Cave by Jose Saramago
In The Cave, Portugese author José Saramago (winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature) tells the story of Cipriano Algor, an old man who makes a living selling hand-made pottery. He lives in an antiquated village on the outskirts of The Center, a gigantic residential shopping mall that buys his wares. The Center comes to embody everything wrong with the consumerist culture, its artificial playgrounds and catering to every need, whereas Cipriano longs for the old ways and traditions. The crisis in his life comes when The Center stops buying his pottery because plastic is cheaper, and his daughter and her husband consider moving to The Center where he works as a security guard. The Christian Science Monitor says of The Cave, "What truly elevates it to something essential is Saramago's style; this fantastically agile, irrepressibly funny, sympathetic, cerebral, and sometimes even corny voice."