Finished the book that has had a few rounds on this blog: The Cave.
As a general practice, after finishing a novel, I rush to find some well written reviews on the book that I'd picked, held and savoured literally. :-)
The reason for this hasn't got so much to do with the desire to know more on the themes etc. , as it is with the immediate and natural feeling to share your reading with someone. And since I normally end up in vain in finding reciprocating voices to share something like reading, one of the best things to do is to search and find few other pages of writing which, given a chance, could speak to you about that reading on similar terms of understanding. It also helps to come across varying points of view ( find many I argue with vehemently :) ).
Anyway, to review the book on my own is going to utilise energy elsewhere and for another time ( hope that comes soon), but what takes most of my imagination, after stepping over the threshold of a novel's ending, is figuring out a straight, succint impression of the book freshly read.
What is this book about? What do I make of it? Well, as for this space, I am taking recourse to what the following words express:
"Amongst the small, but countlessly frequent and therefore very effective, things to which science should pay more attention than to the great, rare things, is to be reckoned goodwill; I mean that exhibition of a friendly disposition in intercourse, that smiling eye, that clasp of the hand, that cheerfulness with which almost all human actions are usually accompanied. Every teacher, every official, adds this to whatever is his duty; it is the perpetual occupation of humanity, and at the same time the waves of its light, in which everything grows; in the narrowest circle, namely, within the family, life blooms and flourishes only through that goodwill. Kindliless, friendliness, the courtesy of the heart, are ever flowing streams of un egoistic impulses, and have given far more powerful assistance to culture than even those much more famous demonstrations which are called pity, mercy, and self sacrifice. But they are thought little of, and, as a matter of fact, there is not much that is un egoistic in them. The sum of these small doses is nevertheless mighty, their united force is amongst the strongest forces. Thus one finds much more happiness in the world than sad eyes see, if one only reckons rightly, and does not forget all those moments of comfort in which every day is rich, even in the most harried of human lives."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, 'Goodwill', Human All Too Human
Perhaps, at its heart, The Cave proposes a similar argument. The characters of the book, which Saramago effusively paints or portrays in terms of exhibiting human characteristics, are the ones whose disposition bears feelings and emotions as the foremost traits. And this feeling, which they all happily share with each other, is the feeling of "goodwill" and "the courtesy of the heart", that enables them to enter and come out strongly of the cave.
It is a book which is constructed ( or if I could use the word, 'woven') with the tears and smiles of these unforgettable characters who never shy away
from wearing hearts on their sleeves so that human emotions seek array.