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The testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
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The testament of Mary (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Colm Tóibín

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7507612,394 (3.63)1 / 199
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Title:The testament of Mary
Authors:Colm Tóibín
Info:New York : Scribner, 2012.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Christianity, Inscriptions/Dedications

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The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (2012)

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English (71)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
A gripping, understated, provocative story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as Mary herself may have told it. Toibin brings a great humanity to the story, and our frailty takes on a strength of its own. Mary's voice is haunting, unwavering--I expect it to stay with me for a long time. This book gives me a fresh perspective on the old, old story. Merry Christmas, indeed. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
The Testament of Mary concerns the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, in her old age. This Mary is not the sainted holy mother that we find in the Bible and the writings of the church. She is a mother who is angry and bitter that her son has been killed. She finds his disciples to be a group of brutish, disgusting misfits. She appears to be suffering from the trauma of watching the torture and death of her beloved son (not the son of God, but the human person). She feels shame because of some her behavior at the end and how she feels that she abandoned Jesus in his time of need—thinking only of herself. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God (I am not really sure what she truly believes about his existence); nor that his death was "worth it"; she refuses to co-operate with the writers of the gospels, who regularly visit her and provide her with food and shelter. What she really longs for is to relive the time before the crucifixion, when both Jesus and Joseph were still alive—so they can grow old together—she longs for a normal life. This novella presents an interesting picture of Mary—as grieved, angry mother rather than a Saintly person who accepts all without complaint—I think the book would have been more interesting to present Mary as something in between these 2 extremes. 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jan 20, 2016 |
Events in the life of Jesus (mainly from John's gospel) as recollected by his skeptical mother. The voice does not always convince, and I don't think Tóibín fully exploits the possibilities of his subject. Also, contrast between the colloquial English of Mary's dialogue and the King James English of Pilate and other characters is jarring and inexplicable. (Quibble: the word "enormity" is used on p. 77 where I believe "enormousness" is meant.) ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
I have an interest in what I call "Biblical fan fiction" and I've read a bunch of it, from Kazantzakis to Moore. I was looking forward to this one, but I was a little disappointed. It seemed to be all style and little substance. Or maybe I got caught up in the stylized language and couldn't see into the story the author was trying to tell. There was some interesting stuff there, but too much was purposely left unsaid or suggested but not developed and I found those parts unsatisfying. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
Colm Tóibín's Booker-shortlisted novel is of a modest size but makes quite an impact. At its heart are questions of grief, loss and memory. A bereaved mother struggles to understand the senseless killing of her son, but at the same time she finds herself having to face the earnest questions of two of his friends, who are determined to spread word of what has happened. Yet they already claim to remember events in a very different way from Mary herself. It's a story about the conflict between memory and stories, and a woman's attempt to keep ownership of her own past before it alters out of all recognition. Beautifully-written, simple and very moving, it manages to be thought-provoking without being sensationalist.

For a full review, please see my blog.
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-testament-of-mary-colm-toibin.htm... ( )
  Leander2010 | Aug 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Colm Tóibín's mothers don't always behave as they should; they are often unpredictable, occasionally downright troublesome, prone to gusts of passion or rage or – worse – unnatural indifference. Rarely are they uncomplicated figures of placid, nurturing devotion; but they do make for fantastically involving fiction. In his 2006 short-story collection, Mothers and Sons, Tóibín brought us relationships that were often characterised by the way they inverted traditional roles. An entrepreneurial widow plots to escape to the anonymity of the big city, clashing with her son's determination to hold fast to their small-town life; another man slinks away from a crowded pub rather than be spotted by the celebrated mother who has absented herself from his life; in "A Long Winter", a magnificent extended piece set in rural Spain, a young man is forced to keep house ineptly for his father after his alcoholic mother walks out into a snowstorm rather than be deprived of drink.....
added by marq | editThe Guardian, Alex Clark (Oct 26, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Loughlin Deegan and Denis Looby
First words
They appear more often now, both of them, and on every visit they seem more impatient with me and with the world.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"Originally published in 2012 in Great Britain by Viking Penguin." T.p. verso
"Some of this novel was used as the basis for the play "Testament," performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2011." T.p. verso
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Book description
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the event that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.

As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth. Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
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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, anger, and feelings that her son is not the son of God and that His sacrifice was not for a worthy cause.… (more)

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