- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 3 hours and 6 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: AudioGO Ltd
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 10 Sept. 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00EZTK2GE
The Testament of Mary
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Top Customer Reviews
I strongly recommend this book, as it is a beautiful read.
As Jesus' followers encourage her to embellish her story to tie in with the legend they are beginning to create, Mary feels that she must tell, even if only once, the true story of her involvement in these momentous events. We see her cynicism and doubt about the miracles attributed to her son; her dislike, contempt even, for those followers who seem intent on feeding his ego, who seem to be provoking his martyrdom to serve their own ends. And most of all we come to understand and almost to share her guilt and fear.
Emotional, thought-provoking, at points harrowing, this book packs more punch in its 104 pages than most full-length novels. Its very shortness emphasises Mary's driven urgency to tell her tale before her chance is gone. Despite the subject matter, it will appeal to lovers of great writing of any faith or none - this story is first and foremost about humanity. Highly recommended.
It consists of some reflections by Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she approaches death in a foreign land.
She touches on Jesus's happy boyhood, how he then matured and eventually turned into a bit of a cold fish with delusions of divinity. She reports on some of his miracles third hand. The only one at which she was present was the water to wine at Cana, and she seems to harbour some doubts about this. The raising of Lazarus, assuming it happened, turned out to be a bad joke. She didn't hang around for the end of the crucifixion saga as she was in fear of her life. So no pietà. And the guys, who are now harassing her for stories from the past, seem to be writing major works of fiction to which they expect her to add her name.
All in all a serious debunking job.
But it is refreshing in its sadness and depression as it makes you think. You begin to wonder what was it really like, particularly when you start to think of people as real people rather than the sanitised and unreflective versions which have been handed down to some of us.
This Mary is at the other end of the spectrum from the Italian breastless plaster-cast statues that were found in most of the churches of my youth.
She is a poor tortured soul, looking forward to relief from this mortal coil. But she is still a loving mother and has a serious backbone made of steel which is not paraded unnecessarily.
A short, well written, provocative book. I'm currently on my second read.
Toibin portrays Galilean Mary as a simple mother, completely dismissive of son's visionary claims (though she witnesses some of his miracles). She is fatalistically aware that the prosaic truth which she knows will be totally distorted by his crazy, dishonest disciples. In the current era, this is a conventional type of debunking. That wouldn't matter if it had been much better realised.
The problem for me is that the dominant emotion, from the first paragraph to the last, is fear. There is no tenderness, love or any sense of connection between Mary and her son - or anyone else, apart from a low key friendship with Martha and Mary. This leads to some stilted scenes, such as when Mary tries to persuade her son - his name is never mentioned, to telling effect - to flee from Cana to hide in her house. The absence of dialogue between the two is deliberate but, I think, a cop-out. No insights or depth of personality colour the blank non-exchange.
Mary comes across as a passive, emotionally distant, small-town mother, who is nevertheless preternaturally aware of how her whole culture is dominated by oppressive men. Her voice is consistent and quietly affecting - but she is not interesting and is not remotely Jewish. She seems to be modeled on an old-fashioned Irish mother, mutely suffering in the name of something she does not understand.
In one of several highly unlikely twists, Toibin has Mary buy a statue of the Roman Goddess Artemis, to whom she prays.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A short, beautifully written, thought provoking novel. Certainly one that stays with you and one that I will read again. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Mrs C Hutchinson
A very tedious and slightly pointless book and depressing-not sure what Toibin wanted to sayPublished 1 month ago by wendy brooks
Enchanting, a marvellous read that brings female emotions to the entire Easter story. Highly recommended.Published 3 months ago by Avid reader
Friends have recommended this book and it did not disappoint. I read it over Easter weekend which was the perfect time.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It was very interesting although brutal at times as is the story .Published 4 months ago by Tony Byford