Book Review: The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

I came to this book first of all because it is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013, something I always take interest in as a way of finding new and challenging books to read – in my humble opinion it rarely disappoints, there are always some gems in there.

Then, of course, this caught my eye because of its biblical links.

The Testament of Mary is an imagining of the events surrounding Jesus life and death from the eyes of his mother.  Some of it based around the legend of Mary living in exile in Ephesus after Jesus’ death, some of it focusses on her life with Jesus and her fears for him as his ministry unfolds.

For me, perhaps not unsurprisingly, the most powerful part is her witnessing of and perspective on his death.  These parts would be very usable at a Good Friday service to bring a different slant to the narrative.

Having said that, the rest of the story gives food for thought.  What would it have been like to be Jesus’ mother?  If nothing else dangerous…  What thoughts would have gone through her mind?  How do you carry on after such a death of your child?

An all round interesting and thought-provoking read.

(Just one aside – this book’s claim to fame is to be the “Slimmest novel ever shortlisted” – my e-edition is  66 pages – but I believe the adage is quality over quantity!)

~ by pamjw on October 7, 2013.

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