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The Testament of Mary - review - Colm Tóibín

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THE TESTAMENT OF MARY Colm Tóibín

The Testament Of Mary

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Colm Toibin
publisher:
Scribner
genre:
Philosophy and Religion, History

We gave it an A-

Here’s a slim, grave, exquisitely emotional book that you’ll find either profane or profound, depending on what you think of a novelist messing with the Mary you remember (or think you remember) from the Bible. It strikes me as the latter. The Testament of Mary takes an icon buried under centuries’ worth of other people’s opinions and transforms her into an unapologetically real woman who, at the end of her life, is recalling the annihilating pain of watching her son die (”Each of the nails was longer than my hand. Five or six of the men had to hold him and stretch out his arm along the cross”). Tóibín’s Mary does not believe Jesus was the son of God. That, understandably, will be a deal breaker for some readers. But if your faith is strong enough to accommodate one artist’s alternative vision, Testament is a spellbinding, surprisingly reverent book. A-

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