ISBN 13: 9780099552246


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9780099552246: Cain

Two decades after Portuguese novelist and Nobel Laureate Jose 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. The stories in this book are witty and provocative. After Adam and Eve have been cast out of Eden, Eve decides to go back and ask the angel guarding the gate if he can give her some of the fruit that is going to waste inside. The angel agrees, and although Eve swears to Adam that she offered the angel nothing in return, their first child is suspiciously blond and fair-skinned. Cain, in his wandering, overhears a strange conversation between a man named Abraham and his son Isaac - and manages to prevent the father from murdering the son. The angel appointed by God to prevent the murder arrives late due to a wing malfunction. Cain brushes off his apology. 'What would have happened if I hadn't been here?' Cain asks, 'and what kind of god would ask a father to sacrifice his own son?' Saramago died in June 2010, shortly after the controversial Portuguese publication of Cain but before he could participate in its publication in other countries. Harvill Secker's edition of this remarkable book will be part of a tribute to Saramago's life and work which includes the gradual reissue of his previous novels as Vintage Classics.

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Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: In his final slim novel, the late José Saramago gives a cheeky modernist update to a timeworn biblical tale. After killing his brother Abel in an exasperated rage, Cain makes a deal with a CEO-like God and escapes with little more than a donkey and a few snacks, doomed to nomadic immortality. As he wanders through time and space, the handsome itinerant interferes with the dealings of a familiar cast of characters--Noah, Moses, Isaac--forever altering the course of legend along the way. Deeply flawed and all too human, despite the eternal life granted him, Cain also struggles openly with the idea of faith in the face of an equally flawed God. By turns philosophical and hilarious, Cain shows off the scope of Saramago’s talent and makes a fitting coda for a superlative writing life. --Mia Lipman

Book Description:

HMH Hardcover, 2011Previous ISBN: 978-0-547-48334-4

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