The Testament of Mary, by Colm Tóibín #BookReview

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The Testament of MaryI was completely riveted by this short novella, and read it in a single sitting.   But it’s come in for some heavy-duty criticism, and not just from the usual suspects i.e. very religious people, and people not interested in religion at all. Kevin from Canada was puzzled by its nomination for the Booker, Joe Pinkser at The Atlantic found it a slog.  But Mary Gordon at the NY Times, however, thought it a beautiful and daring work.

And so do I.

This uncompromising reimagining of the story of Mary the Mother of God reminded me of David Malouf’s reimagining of Homer’s Iliad in his novella Ransom. To quote from my own review:

What is most striking about the difference [between Homer’s Iliad and Malouf’s novel] is the way Malouf humanises the characters.  Homer delivers heroic ‘types’, and the reader is not really privy to their innermost thoughts and fears. But…

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