Cain

Cain

eBook - 2011
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"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2011
ISBN: 9780547519401
0547519400
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Costa, Margaret Jull

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Jul 29, 2015

Plain, smart-alec-y, unfinished, unpolished; not much more than a first draft.

melwyk Feb 13, 2012

The basic story follows the character of Cain as he is cast out for killing his brother Abel, and then moves throughout time to become a character in many other well-known moments in the biblical story -- such as when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, and it is Cain who saves him. Episodes like this occur in most of the places that Cain finds himself, and he complains to and about a God who is inconsistent, vainglorious, and demanding. Cain is a strong-minded individual who has a strong sense of himself and his place in the world. He is grounded in the here and now, and is a sexual being as well as a physical labourer. His concern is for this world, not in following the dictates of a capricious Lord. Through his strength of mind and his long association with The Lord, they begin to develop a bit of a relationship that goes beyond a minion worshipping his betters.

The ending was a bit discombobulating. I'm not sure yet what to make of it. But it's a book full of vim and vigour -- it would make a fabulous book club selection as there are sure to be strong opinions on both sides amongst readers. I'd love to discuss this one myself, as there are moments where I would like to ask WTF? and then other moments which I found both clever and incisive. It exhibits Saramago's intellect wrestling with tradition and is worth reading for the ideas he raises, even if you don't agree with all of them yourself. I found it more of an intellectual exercise than an emotionally satisfying novel though. If you're a Saramago fan or someone who likes to imagine alternate lives for neglected characters in well known stories you will probably want to read this one.

debwalker Oct 03, 2011

Shelf Talker: A retelling of Genesis with Cain as the central character, travelling through time to visit some of the lord's great mass atrocities in biblical history.

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