The Resource The testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín

The testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín

Label
The testament of Mary
Title
The testament of Mary
Statement of responsibility
Colm Tóibín
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A provocative imagining of the later years of the mother of Jesus finds her living a solitary existence in Ephesus years after her son's crucifixion and struggling with guilt, and anger
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2012.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2012.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Acclaimed Irish novelist Tóibîn (The Master, 2004, among others), in an audacious move, submits a novelization of the later years of a figure less historical than symbolic that is readable in one sitting, which brings its brilliance into even finer focus.Mary, the mother of Jesus, sits in uncooperative silence in the ancient biblical town of Ephesus as she is hounded by her son’s apostles, who are desperate for memories she can share with them to aid in their intention to write about Jesus’ life (in what, of course, will become the four Gospels of the New Testament). Mary insists that she remembers nothing. The truth is, she is flooded by memories, and with great articulation and introspection, she supplies us with a first-person narrative that will surprise and fascinate readers used to a more traditionally kind and gentle Virgin Mary. Of the apostles, Mary recalls “a group of misfits.” Her impression of her son’s ministry is that it was not simply boring but also artificial. He was radiant and powerful in human interaction, yes, but she scoffs at the notion of him being the son of God. She does understand that her son’s agony and death on the cross were the denouement of a planned program “for the sake of the future,” and she admits that she did not wait at the foot of the cross for him to die but instead fled the scene out of fear for her safety. But of his gruesome end, she proposes to the apostles, “When you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it.” A stunning interpretation that is as beautiful in its presentation as it is provocative in its intention. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Tóibîn has become a literary star of the first order, twice shortlisted for the Mann Booker Prize. -- Hooper, Brad (Reviewed 09-01-2012) (Booklist, vol 109, number 1, p56)
  • TÃ3ibà n (Brooklyn) has chosen Jesus’ mother as the narrator of his poignant reimagining of the last days of Christ. Mary doesn’t think her son is the son of God; in fact, she’s convinced that he’s simply running with the wrong crowd, “Something about the earnestness of those young men repelled me... the sense that there was something missing in each one of them.” But when she recounts the story of Lazarus’s return from the grave, she presents no other explanation than that of his sisters, that Jesus was the one who brought him back. At the wedding at Cana, she sees Lazarus for herself and finds that “he was in possession of a knowledge that seemed to me to have unnerved him; he had tasted something or seen or heard something which had filled him with the purest pain....” This beautiful novella turns on who or what Mary should believe about her son’s life and death—and on a mother’s grief: “I saw that once again he was trying to remove the thorns that were cutting into his forehead and the back of his head and, failing to do anything to help himself, he lifted his head for a moment and his eyes caught mine.” Agent: Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Nov. 13) --Staff (Reviewed July 23, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 30, p)
  • An elderly woman lives alone, rarely leaving home. Her husband has died, and her son has been killed for proclaiming to the masses that he is the son of God. Following his brutal crucifixion, Mary has moved to Ephesus in Asia Minor to live in relative anonymity. Two unnamed men visit her often, wanting to hear about the events that led to the end of Jesus's life, but she does not want to speak of it. The visitors attempt to convince her that they are writing gospels of her son's life because his story will change the world forever. In what first appeared as Testament , a stage play presented in Dublin during the fall of 2011, award-winning author Toà bà n (Brooklyn ; The Master ) converts the canonized Saint Mary into a real woman who struggled mightily with fear, guilt, and pain. VERDICT Toà bà n's play, now published as a novella, offers a moving and thought-provoking take on the life of a religious icon, which will resound with most readers who have an interest in the events surrounding the beginnings of Christianity. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/12.]— Susanne Wells, Indianapolis P.L. --Susanne Wells (Reviewed September 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 14, p95)
  • /* Starred Review */ A novella that builds to a provocative climax, one that is as spiritually profound as its prose is plainspoken. At the outset, the latest from the esteemed Irish author (Brooklyn, 2009, etc.) seems like a "high concept" breather from his longer, more complex fiction. As the title suggests, the narrator is Mary, mother of Jesus, reflecting on her life and her son as she nears death. She is a religious woman but not willing to cooperate with those who want to establish a new religion on the death of her son, the self-proclaimed "Son of God," whose execution promises "a new life for the world." No, to her, it was the death of a son for whom nothing could provide recompense. "It was simply the end of something," she says, and the claims of divinity leading up to it came from a son she barely knew: "his voice all false, and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him." The miracle of Mary's testament is that what might initially seem like blasphemy ultimately becomes transcendent, redemptive, even as she continues to resist "efforts to make simple sense of things which are not simple." The testament encompasses the resurrection of Lazarus and the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana, both related in such a way that she neither denies what happened nor takes faith from them, and culminates in a crucifixion related in excruciating detail, from the perspective of a mother witnessing the execution of her earthly son. "I gasped when I saw the cross," she remembers and subsequently reflects, "He was the boy I had given birth to and he was more defenceless now than he had been then." What follows the crucifixion gives a whole new dimension to the testament, for Mary and the reader alike. A work suffused with mystery and wonder.(Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10151466
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1955-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Tóibín, Colm
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Mary
  • Jesus Christ
  • Jesus Christ
  • Mothers and sons
  • Apostles
  • Guilt
  • Anger
Target audience
adult
Label
The testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"Some of this novel was used as the basis for the play "Testament," performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2011."--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
81 pages
Isbn
9781451688382
Lccn
2012007578
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Label
The testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín
Publication
Copyright
Note
"Some of this novel was used as the basis for the play "Testament," performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2011."--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
81 pages
Isbn
9781451688382
Lccn
2012007578
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n

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