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The Gospel According To The Son

Cover of The Gospel According To The Son

The Gospel According To The Son

A Novel
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The Gospel according to the Son One of America's greatest living writers takes a dramatic departure in theme with bold and thoughtful book, a recreation of the life of Jesus. With remarkable psychological acuity, Mailer presents an image of a skilled and devout carpenter confronted with the perplexing. Is God speaking to me? Do the voice that I hear come from God? And if so, why has he chosen me?. Following the New Testament closely, Mailer vividly recreates the world of the Holy Land two thousand years ago. The public world into which Jesus is thrust by is thrust by his vision is governed by a complacent but fearful establishment that rules over a despairing middle class. As his sermons and miracles rock that world, the son of God emerges as a protagonist both divine and human, wracked by passion and doubt as he progresses inexorably toward his apocalyptic end.

The Gospel according to the Son One of America's greatest living writers takes a dramatic departure in theme with bold and thoughtful book, a recreation of the life of Jesus. With remarkable psychological acuity, Mailer presents an image of a skilled and devout carpenter confronted with the perplexing. Is God speaking to me? Do the voice that I hear come from God? And if so, why has he chosen me?. Following the New Testament closely, Mailer vividly recreates the world of the Holy Land two thousand years ago. The public world into which Jesus is thrust by is thrust by his vision is governed by a complacent but fearful establishment that rules over a despairing middle class. As his sermons and miracles rock that world, the son of God emerges as a protagonist both divine and human, wracked by passion and doubt as he progresses inexorably toward his apocalyptic end.

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About the Author-
  • Norman Mailer, novelist, nonfiction writer, essayist, screenwriter, ex political candidate and public persona was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on January 31. 1923. In 1927 his family moved to the Eastern Parkway section of Brooklyn, where he attended P.S. 161 and Boy's High School.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 31, 1997
    Only a novelist as daring as Mailer would attempt to retell the story of Jesus in Jesus's own words. There are reasons for this, paramount among them the difficulty, perhaps impossibility, of plumbing the psychology of, and creating an internal voice for, a man meant to be divine as well as human. And the Jesus whose soul Mailer bares in his brave, beautiful and ambitious new novel is meant to be both, for Mailer revises the Gospels only partially here. His Jesus is the Son of God, a Jewish miracle worker who speaks with God and debates the Devil, who is crucified for his teachings and who, three days later, rises from the dead. To tell Jesus's story, Mailer adopts biblical-style prose that works powerfully well: "In those days," he begins, "I was the one who came down from Nazareth to be baptized by John in the River Jordan." Mailer is brilliant in depicting the human side of Jesus--his confusion and pride as he comes to understand who he is; his love for sinners and hatred of the pious; his terror at his impending fate and, above all, his grapplings with the limits of his powers. True to Mailer's theology, expressed in earlier works, of an anthropomorphic God at war with other Powers, this Jesus and his Father can know defeat. But this philosophical stance proves an aesthetic weakness, for by presenting Jesus's martyrdom as "debacle and disaster," in effect a twist of fate, Mailer's telling loses the force of inexorable destiny that exalts the telling of the Gospels. Less persuasive still is Mailer's attempt to represent Jesus's divinity. To do so, he most often relies on a mundane literalism. He learns too heavily on the miracle-working, and his presentation of the Last Supper lacks any sense of mystical mystery. His treatment of the Resurrection and what follows is flat as a board, and full of splinters, for here he forces Jesus to become his mouthpiece for this theological opinion and that. But if this novel is partially a failure, it is a great and profoundly moving one that is also a triumph. Its penetration into Jesus's human heart rivals Dostoyevsky for depth and insight. Its recreation of the world through which Jesus walked is as real as blood. Ultimately, Mailer convinces, more than any writer before him, that for Jesus the man it could have been just like this; and that is, in itself, some sort of literary miracle.

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    Phoenix Books, Inc.
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The Gospel According To The Son
The Gospel According To The Son
A Novel
Norman Mailer
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