Rating: 4 The Testament of Mary A Novel by Colm Toibin 2012 / 96 Pages
What did Jesus’ mum think about his son of God routine? Well, according to Colm Toibin’s Man Booker Prize nominated novella The Testament of Mary– she didn’t really think very highly of it all. What a waste of a life! And those friends of his!? Oy vey…
Rating: 5 The Testament of Mary A Novel by Colm Tóibín 2012 / 96 Pages
Full of grace
Testament /ˈtestəmənt/ noun: something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality.
At their very worst, fictional works that rely heavily on the Bible as their source material can be negatively explosive and highly blasphemous, at their best these same works can be critically acclaimed, but these accolades can never arrive without some measure of controversy. Colm Toibin’s slim Man Booker nominated novella The Testament of Mary clearly falls under the latter designation. It’s a wonderful, surprising, and moving piece of literature, but it will most certainly upset a fair number of people who read it and then seek it interpret its contents as being something greater than a piece of fiction. When the book is raised up falsely as having some factual merit and then challenged to stand up against their personal religious or spiritual beliefs it will most certainly fail. If it didn’t, then everything that they have been taught to believe could come crumbling down around their very knees. In order for it to work properly, a belief system must be infallible, and any perceived threat to its existence must be immediately dismissed in any way possible.
The Testament of Mary A Novel by Colm Tóibín 2012 / 96 Pages
Whenever a writer gives voice to a religious figure, there is bound to be controversy, and this is certainly true for Colm Tóibín’s Man Booker Prize-nominated novella, The Testament of Mary. Told from Mary’s perspective, the story recounts Mary’s experience during the capture and crucifixion of her son, Jesus. Tóibín’s portrait of the Virgin Mother is not the typical Christian vision of a saintly and martyred woman – but of a grieving mother who is angry at the world and the heavens for the lifetime of pain and suffering she has endured.