I thoroughly enjoyed reading this unusual account of Jesus’ life by Jose Saramago – of course a version which the saviors of the religion will never accept or include in their canon. After all it raises severe doubts about the benevolence of their God. A God who has already been suspected of ‘severity‘ several times in the past.
The book is an account of Jesus’ life as narrated by Jesus of Nazareth himself. A simple man, son of another simple man and not God. A man with human instincts, who takes refuge in the arms of a woman (Mary Magdalene of course) after being troubled with his nightmares and a disturbing encounter with God.
The brilliantly held together story then goes on to describe the miracles that begin to happen to this simple man – something he is neither able to fathom, nor able to control. Miracles that are imposed upon him by God, in an endeavor to expand his empire. For God deems that the presence of his son in the world will spread his kingdom further. Perhaps even God believes in the ‘personal touch‘ – something that he cannot give himself and needs a medium!
Though I have not read either of the four canonical gospels, nor the denounced gospels, but I am sure this one must be more interesting. Its just right that the catholic church should have protested against this novel as blasphemous, but then no religious sect takes well to inspection and scrutiny.
Saramago, as usual is brilliant and original in this work as in all others. I thought his writing style was more expanded and verbose in this one as against the other two that I have read – The Double and The Cave, but that perhaps can be owed to different translators (That is the frustration of reading translations – you never know what got lost, or added, never know how the original author composed it). I love Saramago for his almost always unusual stories, a binding narrative, his tremendous originality, and his exploration of human thoughts under crazy circumstances.