Cain

José Saramago

Cain

Two decades after Portuguese novelist and Nobel Laureate José Saramago shocked the religious world with his novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, he has done it again with Cain, a satire of the Old Testament. Written in the last years of Saramago’s life, it tackles many of the moral and logical non sequiturs created by a wilful, authoritarian God, and forms part of Saramago’s long argument with religion. 3.6 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Cain

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 160
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication July 2011
ISBN 978-1846554469
Publisher Harvill Secker
 

Two decades after Portuguese novelist and Nobel Laureate José Saramago shocked the religious world with his novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, he has done it again with Cain, a satire of the Old Testament. Written in the last years of Saramago’s life, it tackles many of the moral and logical non sequiturs created by a wilful, authoritarian God, and forms part of Saramago’s long argument with religion.

Reviews

The Scotsman

Allan Massie

Every page of this novella, translated with a fluent and light touch by Margaret Jill Costa, has its charm. Every page raises difficult questions. That over the centuries we have found no satisfying answer to these questions - that there is no answer to the problem of Job - doesn't make them less compelling. Many will find this novella disagreeably provoking, but, as the final testament of the Portuguese master, it is suitably disturbing - and a pleasure to read.

26/07/2011

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The Independent

Daniel Hahn

Cain was composed shortly before Saramago's death last June aged 87. It's apparent just how his ferocious intelligence and argumentative atheist glee still blazed.

19/08/2011

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The Financial Times

Ángel Gurría-Quintana

Cain, the last novel published before Saramago’s death in June 2010, and now translated, will not surprise his habitual readers. Nor will his revisiting of some of the Old Testament’s tales shock as much as his Gospel – though some people will still find much to be affronted by ... Hats must be doffed once again to Margaret Jull Costa, Saramago’s fearless long-time translator, for taming his punctuation-free prose, rendering it not only readable, but enjoyable, and for bringing the late Portuguese author’s often challenging work to a worldwide readership.

08/07/2011

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The Guardian

Ian Sansom

For those unfamiliar with the Saramago style, therefore, Cain both tells the primal story and acts as a useful primer. The prose is seasoned throughout with clichés, which Saramago confuses with irony, and there are platitudes aplenty ... Cain is neither original nor particularly provocative.

15/07/2011

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