"Saramago juxtaposes an eminently readable narrative of work and
poverty, class and desire, knowledge and timelessness-one in which
God, too, as he faces Cain in the wake of Noah''s Ark, emerges as
far more human than expected." -San Francisco Chronicle
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 Noah''s
Ark lands on the dry peak of Ararat. Cain, the despised, the
murderer, is Saramago''s 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-and in all ways a fitting end to
Saramago''s extraordinary career.
"A winkingly blasphemous retelling of the Old Testament . . .
Saramago, playfully stretching his chatty late style, pokes holes
in the stated logic of the Biblical God throughout the
novel."-The New Yorker