Friday, August 30, 2013

REVIEW: The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman

Synopsis: This is the story of Yehoshuah, who wandered Roman-occupied Judea giving sermons and healing the sick. Now, a year after his death, four people tell their stories. His mother grieves, his friend Iehuda loses his faith, the High Priest of the Temple tries to keep the peace, and a rebel named Bar-Avo strives to bring that peace tumbling down.

It was a time of political power-play and brutal tyranny. Men and women took to the streets to protest. Dictators put them down with iron force. In the midst of it all, one inconsequential preacher died. And either something miraculous happened, or someone lied.

My Thoughts:  This book was definitely not what I expected.  Instead of one story arc like you get in most novels, Liars' Gospel tackles the story of Jesus through the viewpoints of several different characters: his mother Mary, Iehuda (or Judas as most know him), Caiaphas-a high priest and Bar-Avo (or Barrabas) a notorious thief.

This book is not an easy read as it takes an entirely different approach to Yehoshuah.  I found it very interesting how the author keeps the main points of Jesus' life intact (a prophet and healer of the sick) but also adding some character attributes that make this version more fallible.  Reading this less favorable outlook on Yehoshuah is something that may make Christian readers a little disconcerted.  If one is able to look beyond this you may end up viewing this as a worthy read, As each person tells their story in relation to Jesus they shed new light on his character and also on the happenings of the time period.  It is like any four people witnessing an event-they are all seeing the same thing but from a different perspective and as each individual is different they are viewing the situation with their unique set of beliefs and emotions.  This is what makes this book so intriguing and the author does an admirable job of covering these various angles with making the story all convoluted. 

If you are a historical fiction reader who likes quirky or unusual tellings of well known stories I would say give this a go.  If you are someone who dislikes historicals that lean more towards story or ones with multiple viewpoints and no straight forward story arc this book may not be your cup of tea.

 This book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this in the bookstore and thought it was an interesting idea, but ultimately put it back on the shelf. Maybe I'll get around to it at some point, but I might be one of the people that finds it's not my cup of tea,.