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Monday, August 12, 2013

"The Liars' Gospel" by Naomi Alderman~Brilliant!


An award-winning writer re-imagines the life of Jesus, from the points of view of four people closest to him before his death.

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.

Viscerally powerful in its depictions of the period - massacres and riots, animal sacrifice and human betrayal - The Liars' Gospel makes the oldest story entirely new.


Published by:  Little, Brown & Co.
Pages:  301
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Author  Naomi Alderman
Twitter @naomialderman
A Reading Group Guide is available at: http://littlebrown.com
Author's website:  http://naomialderman.com


Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. Her first novel, Disobedience, was published in ten languages; like her second novel, The Lessons, it was read on BBC radio's Book at Bedtime. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future.

Her prize-winning short fiction has appeared in Prospect, on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.

From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on the BAFTA-shortlisted alternate reality game Perplex City. She's written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2011 she wrote the Doctor Who tie-in novel Borrowed Time. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run!

Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian.

Please take a moment to listen to ancient lyre music and see some of the scenes depicted in this novel of Judea during the time...  So beautiful and moving.



The first words I have to share with you are that Naomi Alderman's book "The Liars' Gospel" is brilliant and a work of art.  From the first pages you realize you have stepped into a world that is unique and beautiful beyond most books you will ever read.  There is a wealth to delve into in this novel...not just the stories on the surface of several of the primary characters from Jesus's life, but a richness of humanity.

As a non-Jew, it was a revelation to read so much of their history and religious practices.  Alderman creates such gorgeous scenes of the most simplistic of moments, such as the sacrificing of a lamb in the Temple.  Every stroke of her pen is ignited with beauty in the descriptions she cares to share with us in the common areas of the life and times of the book.

Her characterizations are earthy while they dig at the deepest emotions of the heart in their elegance.  I was moved to tears at certain passages of Miryam's story.  What a perfect depiction of the unwavering love of a mother whose son seemingly turns his back on her for the love of the greater love of God.  It struck an arrow in my heart for her that she accepted his apparent rejection and showed him unconditional love in her own mind and spirit.

Jesus is drawn with a loving and true hand.  I felt the visceral and human person, while the divine was apparent, as well.  What an amazing picture.  One I've never experienced before in anything I've read.

Each of the characters Naomi writes about are so vivid and realized in the rawest sense, you can't help believing they might have felt and thought just the things she imagines and tells us.  I was simply captivated.

There are few authors who can write with the genius Ms Alderman employs.  Her ability to cast a scene, draw us in and turn our minds is powerful.  She is a wordsmith of the highest order.  I felt nearly every sentence was crafted in brilliance, and it made reading this book a complete joy.  What a treasure.  I could read it again and again!

While there has been some controversy, I understand, about the stories in this book, I found no reason to question the way the book was measured and told.  I thought the descriptions of the peoples, the political times and the thought processes of the characters made perfect sense and were touched with reality.  As a Christian, I was not offended by any part of the book; and, in fact, I took heart in the way the main teaching of Jesus was reinforced:  "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Have I used enough superlatives?  This is an outstanding book.  It's one I strongly recommend to my readers.  It's a treasure and can't be missed.  A must be on your reading list this year.  It will be meaningful and long-remembered.

One of my Top 5 of the year!!

5+ stars                   Deborah/TheBookishDame


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