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Lazarus Is Dead Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099554348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099554349
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Beard is the author of six novels, of which Damascus was a New York Times Notable Book and Lazarus is Dead was #5 on Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction 2012 - 'nothing less than astonishing'. He has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and long-listed for The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

His most recent novel is Acts of the Assassins (Harvill Secker 2015), and he is also the author of three works of sports/travel/transgender non-fiction.

Richard Beard studied at Cambridge, at the Open University, and with Malcolm Bradbury on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. He has worked as a P.E. teacher, as Private Secretary to Mathilda, Duchess of Argyll, as an employee of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and for three years was Visiting Professor of British Culture at the University of Tokyo.

Since 2009 he has been Director of The National Academy of Writing in London, and is one of several opening batsmen for the Authors XI Cricket Club.

Product Description

Review

"As gripping as a thriller and endlessly thought-provoking... Surprising, spellbinding, witty and utterly original" (Chris Dolan Sunday Herald)

"Lazarus is Dead is a delightful falsehood - a brilliant novel and a shining example of the gospel untruth" (Alfred Hickling Guardian)

"This clever and original book keeps the reader guessing until the death - and beyond " (Financial Times)

"An idiosyncratic delight...Yet again, Beard shows himself to be one of our most inventive novelists" (Max Davidson Mail on Sunday)

"A brilliant reimagining of the Lazarus story...wry, incisive and surprisingly moving (Favourite Books of 2011)" (Irish Times)

Book Description

Meet Lazarus - hero of the best story about second chances ever told

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CJ Craig VINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A wonderfully "new" type of novel that weaves history, myth, speculation, theology and story-telling together in a fascinating way. The research the author has done is offered up in the pages that make up a sort of commentary on the re-telling of the biblical story of Lazarus and his being raised from the dead. Whether or not you are a believer there is much to challenge lazy thinking in this new book by Richard Beard. For Christians I think it would make an interesting choice for a church book club. You do not need to agree with everything, or anything, that Beard writes but you do have to think about the issues he raises in this often over-looked biblical story. For non-Christians or non-believers Beard poses some very interesting philosophical and sociological points that are easily applicable to contemporary situations. Even the subtle political moves by Romans and Jewish priests should bring about a good discussion with friends and colleagues.

The nature of the actual book is refreshing. The reader is drawn into the familiar story with just enough changes and what-if scenarios to bring the story alive. And then there is the commentary and author's reflections on his own research in preparation for the book that makes you feel as though you are sitting in his study discussing the issues the biblical story has raised for him and which he wants to raise with you.

Richard Beard has been described as "one of the most ingenious, resourceful and entertaining novelists in England" and I would have to agree that that sums it up nicely.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ian Marchant on 17 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's very unusual to find a book which is both readable and original; here is one such. Richard Beard has thrown everything he knows about genre out of the window, and found a new way to tell a remarkable story. Is this a novel, or a work of 'creative non-fiction', or a sustained and brilliant piece of theological speculation, or what? I don't know, but I do know that the hairs stood up on the back of my neck at the end. I also know that Beard is one of our most original and woefully under-rated novelists, and that anyone who is interested in what a novel might be should read this extra-ordinary book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow, this is one of those books that's rather hard to describe, let alone review. It comes from a leftfield view of the world, written in a way that makes you wonder if it's just you that doesn't' think along those lines.

Ostensibly, this is a work of theology telling the story of Lazarus. A passing knowledge of biblical history is probably a help in reading this, but as long as you've heard of Jesus you're probably ok. The author mixes biblical story, historical fact, art and imagination in a way that is completely convincing in telling the life of Lazarus, his early friendship growing up with Jesus, his decline, death and resurrection. As Lazarus is really barely mentioned in the bible (although important, his part is small) this is quite a feat to expand a few sentences into an entire lifetime.

This is a great book for imagining how things must have seemed to ordinary people at the time. After all, after Lazarus was raised it would be natural for people to wonder if perhaps actually is Lazarus the messiah? Jesus has yet to die and return, but Lazarus managed it. Or was Lazarus just a trial run for Jesus, so he could gauge how to maximise the impact and conviction of his own resurrection? How does Lazarus feel about all this? Confused? Annoyed? What about the Romans, who were wondering as much as anyone about what Jesus and Lazarus are up to?

This is a fascinating book, with a great insight and humour. Don't think this is one only for the religious, it's a really good read even for died in the wool atheists. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is partly an imaginative re-telling and embellishment of the story of Lazarus raised from the dead by Jesus, and partly a meticulously researched, highly speculative historical analysis of what that story means both in the context of Jesus's life and death and a philosophical discourse on its wider meaning for all of us. The book has lots of things about it that I like very much. It is extremely erudite, drawing on a huge range of cultural and historical sources for its ideas and analysis, the ideas are original and sometimes thought-provoking and the prose is excellent - readable, witty and beautifully crafted.

I should have loved this book but something got in the way. I did think it was well worth reading, just not the enjoyable gem it should have been. It may be a reflection on me rather than the book but somehow I found myself slightly unengaged, and occasionally wondering how much more there was to go. I cannot quite put my finger on why, but I think I felt that Richard Beard was making very sure we noticed how very clever and original he is and this kept intruding on my simple enjoyment of the book. The tricksy, layered section numbering is a small example: I can see why he's done it, but it just felt over-elaborate and self-conscious. I have to say, too, that in spite of all the philosophical fireworks I wasn't sure that in the end it really added up to quite as much as it promised.

Please don't let me put you off. Plenty of people don't share my reservations which are the result of a very personal response to the book, and I still thought it was pretty good - just perhaps a little bit too pleased with itself.
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