Book: Cain by Jose Saramago
Reviewed by: Nolan
I’m not entirely sure what Jose Saramago’s Cain is. A synopsis would tell you Cain (of Cain and Abel fame) after murdering his brother is sent to wander the rest of his life in exile. Old news, I know. But then it takes a bit of a turn. Instead of just wandering, Cain time travels to witness different events in the Old Testament. Is this novella a re-telling? A re-interpretation? A biblical sci-fi adventure? It’s hard to tell, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
This seems a strange story to be told by such a seasoned and well respected author so late in his career and life (Cain would be Saramago’s last book before his death in 2010). I could understand a man’s coming to terms with faith so near his death, but this doesn’t seem to be such. Instead, Saramago seems to use Cain’s position as an outsider to look at stories from the Old Testement with a perspective of a modern thinking man. God did what to whom just because he/she did so & so? Well that seems a little extreme. Saramago doesn’t seem to be questioning anyone’s faith. More so he’s asking readers to allow room to be human in their faith, doing so with respect, emotion, and wicked humor.