September 01, 2010

Review: Caim - Jose Saramago

Caim by José Saramago

Wow. Really, wow.

After reading "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ", I hoped to be shocked with the changes on the original story, I expected small parts incredibly against "the system", etc. But I didn't. What got me the most was the book's style.

But Caim, oh Caim! Yes him! With Caim, despite being a short book, in so little time I was in love, angry, shocked, happy and sad!

For the first time since I started blogging, I started tweeting quotes! That's a book worthy of Saramago's reputation - a teaser. And perhaps that's the impact he was after, having felt that he didn't have much time to live, he wanted to shock people, more than ever, as this was his last book.

The book proposes to do something simple, show Caim's life as he travels through several passages of the Bible's Old Testament. Besides a brief story of Adam and Eve, Caim and Abel, some other parts are told, like Abraham's, who was supposed to sacrifice his only son, Sodom and Gomorrah, Babel and The Flood.

I'll go ahead and say that, unlike "The Gospel  according to Jesus Christ", here Saramago won't follow the exact line of the happenings and some parts may be surprising, including the end.

It seems to me that, as my co-workers say, Saramago had "so much hate in his little heart".

He spends the whole book trying to prove, situation after situation, that God is, actually, evil, stingy , selfish and that the people who love him are only wasting their time, because he doesn't love them back. Again, a warning - SARAMAGO said that. Not me. Not you.

This time, I don't think it's enough to have an open mind, if you are really a religious person (not those who "are religious" but don't practice, don't think about it and don't REALLY care), it will be very hard to accept what he has to say and not get irritated at the book and the author.
Cursings, swearings, annoyances, fast and sharp dialogues, from Caim with God, provoking and sexual acts, war and executioners - I do not advise this book to under age people. Not because such actsare too well described, too visual, but because José Saramago knows what to say to make that act look much more abominable or much more pleasant and easy than a teenager should think they are.

But if you're a grown-up, reader, open minded, who won't mind reading a book that will tell you that God is evil, go for it! Dive in, travel through Old Testament in a way only Saramago can tell. You will have to believe me when I say that hardly a book can shock me - usually those current themes books to "shock and raise awareness" bore me - but this one got my attention in a way that I "ate it" in 3 days, a quick rate, considering I too a month to read "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ", that's 300 and some pages long against 170 of this one.

I'll leave it to you, two quotes about Abraham that really got my attention and are, actually, on the same page (my own translation - and the cursings are there. I swear.):

The logical, the natural, the only human would have been for abraham to tell the lord to go screw himself (...)

(...) Meaning, not only was abraham as son of a bitch as the lord, but he was a refined liar, ready to cheat anyone (...)