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Cainby Jose Saramago
Synopses & Reviews
“Suitably disturbing—and a pleasure to read.” — The Scotsman
In this, his last novel, José Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Old Testament, recalling his provocative The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. His tale runs from the Garden of Eden, when God realizes he has forgotten to give Adam and Eve the gift of speech, to the moment when Noahs Ark lands on the dry peak of Ararat. Cain, the despised, the murderer, is Saramagos protagonist.
Condemned to wander forever after he kills his brother Abel, Cain makes his way through the world in the company of a personable donkey. He is a witness to and participant in the stories of Isaac and Abraham, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, Moses and the golden calf, the trials of Job. The rapacious Queen Lilith takes him as her lover. An old man with two sheep on a rope crosses his path. And again and again, Cain encounters a God whose actions seem callous, cruel, and unjust. He confronts Him, he argues with Him. “And one thing we know for certain,” Saramago writes, “is that they continued to argue and are arguing still.”
A startling book—sensual, funny—in all ways a fitting end to Saramagos extraordinary career.
A re-telling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel
The late Nobel laureate’s final novel, a radical retelling of the Old Testament "Reading the Portuguese writer José Saramago, one quickly senses the presence of a master." —Christian Science Monitor "Saramago is the most tender of writers...with a clear-eyed and compassionate acknowledgment of things as they are, and a quality that can only be termed wisdom." —New York Times "Saramago is arguably the greatest writer of our time."—Chicago Tribune In this, his last novel, Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain. Condemned to wander forever after he kills Abel, he is whisked around in time and space. He experiences the almost-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joshua at the battle of Jericho, Job’s ordeal, and finally Noah’s ark and the Flood. And over and over again Cain encounters an unjust, even cruel God. A startling, beautifully written, and powerful book, in all ways a fitting end to Saramago’s extraordinary career.
About the Author
JOSÉ SARAMAGO (1922-2010) was the author of many novels, among them Blindness, All the Names, Baltasar and Blimunda, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
MARGARET JULL COSTA has established herself as the premier translator of Portuguese literature into English today.
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