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The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (Harvest in Translation) [Paperback]

Jose Saramago , Giovanni Pontiero
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 28 Sep 1994 --  

Book Description

28 Sep 1994 Harvest in Translation
A retelling of the Gospel following the life of Christ from his conception to his crucifixion. A naive Jesus is the son not of God, but of Joseph. In the desert it is not Satan, but God that Christ tussles with, an autocrat with whom he has an unbalanced and unsettled relationship.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P; Tra edition (28 Sep 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156001411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156001410
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,787,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Profound and poignant" (Independent) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A reissue of Saramago's fictionalized account of the life of Jesus --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
THE SUN APPEARS IN ONE OF THE UPPER CORNERS OF THE rectangle, on the left of anyone looking at the picture. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative masterpiece 1 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book draws your attention the minute you start reading the first few pages, a description of a medieval painting of a crucifixion scene. From thereon, you are embroiled in a clever mixture of fiction and biblical myth, masterfully conjoining a beautiful story with shards proferred by the gospels.
Saramago has developed a velvet like way of writing which is often difficult to read over prolonged periods. The absence of standard punctuation and paragraphs make it reminiscent of Beckett, and his use of language is comparable to that other winner of the Nobel prize. Read this book just for its beautiful descriptive passages, the delicate love story, the distrust of power and its groundedness in humanity.
It will linger with you for months after.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 14 Sep 2001
Format:Paperback
This is a magnificent novel, worthy of comparison with that other great Jesus novel, Kazantzakis' "The Last Temptation". Saramago's theme is fairly common, one that has worried theologians for centuries: how can a loving god permit so much evil and suffering to exist in the world? The real villain of the book is not the devil, who seems almost sympathetic, a reluctant accomplice in the divine scheme, but the old testament Jehovah, a tyrant willing to sacrifice no end of martyrs, beginning with his own son, to achieve his ends. Saramago has faith in the goodness of people, perhaps indicative of his communist sympathies; there are several instances in the narrative where strangers come to the aid of the young Jesus as he goes in search of his ancestry and his destiny; he is sympathetic too with Joseph, whose guilt about not warning the parents of the murdered innocents results in an untimely death. All but the most liberal Christians will be offended by this book, and many will dismiss it as a communist indictment of religion. If, however, you can accept the book's didactic purpose, its passionate disavowal of the idea that there is any kind of divine grace or love, you will be enchanted by Saramago's wordy, often unpunctuated style, his wry, ironical tone, and his brilliant weaving of realist and mythical elements, complete with lengthy "evangelical" glosses. The best novel I have read since "One Hundred Years Of Solitude".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobel-laureate at his best 3 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer Saramago is at his best in this novel. Typical of his style, a well-known event is an opportunity for a fictional work where the fragility of our beliefs is exposed with humour and empathy - there isn't an unconditional truth, it all can change depending on the way we look at it. In this deep and controversial story we meet a Jesus Christ who is altruistic and giving but more human than divine - a religious truth looked at from a different angle. From a literary point of view, this is a masterpiece.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful read! 15 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Despite being slightly put off by the title, I was pleasantly surprised with Saramago's fascinating twist on the life of Jesus Christ. Not only is the book written in a poetic and graceful style which makes the reader glued to each page, but his interpretation of Jesus' life forces one to think and rethink their own values.
Whether or not you are religious is irrelevant when reading this book as it is a wonderful read - due to Saramago's excellence in story telling and painting a picture through words.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers looking for a wonderfully written book about a subject that may not have previously interested readers.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fabulous 23 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
I have read this book a couple of years ago, and it still stays with me, bits of it flash by in my mind every day at one point or another. For those who can digest a less than dogmatic view of God, Jesus and the Fallen Angel, and have a good sense of humour , then this book is an absolute delight!
Nothing is absolute, nothing is black and white, and it all just alters depending on the perspective you're looking at it. We all know that, nothing new there, but Jose Saramago does it beautifully and boldly to a subject that is so divisive in human history, you hear the sharp intakes of breath and murmurs of - `how dares he?'
I loved every minute of it, even some of the more long drawn passages.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gospel for human beings 25 July 2006
Format:Paperback
`TGATJC' is Saramago's retelling of the story of Jesus. It is broadly based on the gospels of the New Testament of the Christian bible, but Saramago invents new scenes and re-interprets existing ones. In the book, the characters of the New Testament are presented as being ordinary human beings caught in extraordinary events. Christian tradition teaches that Joseph, Jesus and Mary were all people, but they are usually portrayed as having the aspects of saints and saviours. `TGATJC' asks the question: what would the events of the gospels look like if told by, and about, human beings. The book concentrates largely on Jesus' relationship with his family, and his parents in particular.

Saramago doesn't set out to shock, and despite the opportunity for contraversialism, actually paints a relatively respectful picture of Jesus' family. Their human aspects are emphasised though, and the book begins with an earthy description of Joseph urinating before having sex with Mary, and her birth pains are graphically described. Jesus too is portrayed as having a very human nature: fallible, often confused and sexually active. I didn't find it remotely shocking, and actually thought it to be a touching and realistic portrait of a family. What may be more controversial is Saramago's portrait of God, who is portrayed very much as he appears in the Old Testament (i.e. how people of Jesus' time would have conceived of God). Saramago's God is jealous and power hungry. His battle isn't with the Devil, but with other Gods over the belief of mankind. Jesus' death is part of his quest for power and the devil, rather than an enemy, is an uneasy ally, because one cannot exist without the other. This God is very much the pre-Christian conceptualisation of God, one which the people of Jesus' era would have recognised.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars literacy gifted author but innane story.
I bought this book after reading the reviews already written for it. After reading 150+ pages I won't lie, I'm struggling to see the point, a point anything in this work. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mr. M. C. Russon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
LOVE IT THANKS!
Published 1 month ago by K. HARRIS
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An account of Jesus's life as interpreted by an atheist, communist writer. An interesting idea and very well done.
Published 2 months ago by Dr. N. F. Hockings
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This book was recommended to me by a friend, it took me time to really enter the book. However I was gripped by one third in. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ioonah Woods
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Your Parents That Mess You UP
"It's your parents that mess you up" is a well known maxim, or more accurately, "It's your upbringing that messes you up" and in the case of Saramago's The Gospel According To... Read more
Published 15 months ago by John Marsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Unique and tasteful, an eye opener! I really want to check out more from the NObel winner who only started writing books after his 50s. Admirable!
Published 18 months ago by Aphropuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Let us prey
Hard to think of a more comprehensive or brilliant deconstruction of the Church down the centuries, in particular the awesome four-page catalogue of martyr saints....
Published 19 months ago by Skeoghman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Never having read any Saramago before, I did not know exactly what to expect.

It would cheapen the novel to call it subversive, because it is so, so much more than that. Read more
Published 21 months ago by washington_irving
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece !!!
I've already read 11 books written by Saramago, being the Gospel According to Jesus Christ my favourite.
This book is a masterpiece !!!
Published on 13 Dec 2011 by Mario Portugal
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically written book
Picked this book up purely by chance one day as the subject matter just caught my attention and I'm so glad I did. Read more
Published on 15 July 2011 by Amazon Customer
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