2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Lazarus Is Dead (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.