Cain

by Jose Saramago
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | October 1, 2012 | Trade Paperback

Cain is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.
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, Jose 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 "

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 176 pages, 7.86 × 5.39 × 0.44 in

Published: October 1, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547840179

ISBN - 13: 9780547840178

Found in: Literary

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from In my Top 5 of all time favourites! This is a fantastic book. I found the premise to be quite original. Deeply thought provoking on many levels. The writing style is a bit odd and I thought that I would not enjoy the book because of it, but once I got used to it, the story itself is very powerful.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant The Stone Raft is good enough to restore ones faith in the power of literature. Jose Saramago seems to have remembered that the basis of any great novel is the story. And this is a great story. One day, the Iberian Peninsula shears off from the European continent and begins to drift across the Atlantic Ocean. A diverse group of Portugese and Spaniards wander across the "island" searching for answers as to why this has occured. What they find are the answers to many important and difficult questions. Fortunately, the "point" of the story never gets in the way of what is a great adventure. Touching, gripping, eye opening and hugely entertaining, this is one of the best novels I have read in years.
Date published: 2000-07-20

– More About This Product –

Cain

Cain

by Jose Saramago
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 176 pages, 7.86 × 5.39 × 0.44 in

Published: October 1, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547840179

ISBN - 13: 9780547840178

Read from the Book

1 When the lord, also known as god, realized that adam and eve, although perfect in every outward aspect, could not utter a word or make even the most primitive of sounds, he must have felt annoyed with himself, for there was no one else in the garden of eden whom he could blame for this grave oversight, after all, the other animals, who were, like the two humans, the product of his divine command, already had a voice of their own, be it a bellow, a roar, a croak, a chirp, a whistle or a cackle. In an excess of rage, surprising in someone who could have solved any problem simply by issuing another quick fiat, he rushed over to adam and eve and unceremoniously, no half-measures, stuck his tongue down the throats of first one and then the other. From the texts which, over the centuries, have provided a somewhat random record of those remote times, be it of events that might, at some future date, be awarded canonical status and others deemed to be the fruit of apocryphal and irredeemably heretical imaginations, it is not at all clear what kind of tongue was being referred to here, whether the moist, flexible muscle that moves around in the buccal cavity and occasionally outside it too, or the gift of speech, also known as language, that the lord had so regrettably forgotten to give them and about which we know nothing, since not a trace of it remains, not even a heart engraved on the bark of a tree, accompanied by some sentimental message, something along the lines of I love eve
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From the Publisher

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, Jose 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 "

About the Author

JOSE 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."

Editorial Reviews

"Cain's vagabond journey builds to a stunning climax that, like the book itself, is a fitting capstone to a remarkable career."
-Publishers Weekly, starred