For 2,000 years, the brief ministry of a young Nazarene preacher has remained the largest single determinant of Western civilisation's triumphs and disasters. In THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON, Norman Mailer gives the protagonist of one of the greatest tragedies of all time a chance to tell the story of his life in his own words. 'Is God speaking to me?' Jesus asks, 'or am I hearing voices? If the voices are from God, why has he chosen me as His son? and if they are not from God, then who gave me the power to perform these miracles?' This is a gripping account of a man thrust forward by the visions he receives and the miracles he enacts until he has come to the very limit of human possibilities. In THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON, one of the world's greatest living writers has brought us a remarkable book - by turns poetic and tragic and, to our surprise and pleasure, suspenseful.
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(197mm x 132mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
One of the most curious products of Mailer's perpetually surprising career, this gracefully written short novel chronicles the life of Jesus, as told by Himself long after his crucifixion and assumption into heaven. Making continual references to the four traditional gospels (whose authors are gently chided for their inaccuracies and exaggerations), Mailer's Jesus offers a generally plainspoken and sometimes plodding account of his youth and apprenticeship in Nazareth, his acceptance of the burden with which the voice of God charges him, his ministry and miracles, encounters with the Pharisees and conviction for blasphemy, and his death at Golgotha. There's real tension, and little glints of inventive power, in such episodes as Jesus's temptation by a suave Satan, and his exorcism of the giant Legion and destruction of the Gadarene swine. But many other passages (most flagrantly, the Sermon on the Mount) amount to no more than flat paraphrase. Occasional flashes of Mailer's pugnacious intellectual gamesmanship surge through in his characterization of a Jesus who devoutly recalls and recites the wisdom of the Old Testament (in one arresting sequence, his rescue of the woman taken in adultery is followed by his memory of the most sensual verses in the "Song of Solomon"), and in random vivid metaphor ("I could feel the love of God. . . like an animal of heavenly beauty. Its eyes glowed in my heart"). Yet the text is marred by anachronistic lapses in tone, and one waits in vain for fuller development of the God-vs.-Devil dialectic that elsewhere dominates Mailer's fiction (though it must be said that this novel's God explains Himself rather more than the biblical one ever did). Only Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate emerge as even perfunctorily characterized individuals; everyone and everything else is subordinated to the narrator's exploration of his mission and his nature. It's lucid, competent, to all appearances sincere - and thoroughly unexceptional. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer has won the National Book Award once and the Pulitzer Prize twice, for ARMIES OF THE NIGHT and THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG. This is his thirtieth book.