After killing his brother Abel, Cain must wander for ever. He witnesses Noah's ark, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, Moses and the golden calf. He is there in time to save Abraham from sacrificing Isaac when God's angel arrives late after a wing malfunction.
Written in the last years of Saramago's life, Cain wittily tackles many of the moral and logical non sequiturs created by a wilful, authoritarain God, forming part of Saramago's long argument with God and recalling his provocative novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.
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There are some very funny moments in this reimagining of the story of Adam and Eve's fratricidal son... 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 - Financial Times
José Saramago's final novel is an inventory of God's less noble moments...as flawed and wonderful a place to inhabit as the world his cosmic nemesis created - Sunday Herald
Every page of this novella, translated with a fluent and light touch by Margaret Jull Costa, has its charm. Every page raises difficult questions...as the final testament of Portuguese master, it is suitably disturbing and a pleasure to read - Scotsman
Saramago's breathless prose, expertly rendered into English by Margaret Jull Costa...conveys the sheer enjoyment of a writer bowing out at the top of his form - Sunday Times
Cain reminds us why Saramago's work remains vitally important - Metro
José Saramago is one of the most important international writers of thelast hundred years. Born in Portugal in 1922 in the small rural village of Azinhaga, he was in his fifties when he came to prominence as a writer with the publication of Baltasar & Blimunda. A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in June 2010, shortly after the Portuguese publication of Cain.