Customer Reviews for

The Liars' Gospel: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Liars' Gospel takes place around the life and death of Yehos

    The Liars' Gospel takes place around the life and death of Yehoshuah (Jesus), told from the perspectives of his mother Miryam (Mary), his friend and eventual betrayer Iehuda (Judas), the High Priest Caiaphas, and the rebel Bar-Avo (Barabbas).

    I have to admit, I was a wee bit uncomfortable about jumping into a book I knew would be a fictionalized version of biblical events, and with such a provocative title at that (who's being called a liar?!). But, since I'm not a biblical literalist, my curiosity easily won out.

    First off, the language. Now, this isn't something I usually comment on, or even care much about, but it occurred often enough that I feel the need to mention it. The f-word is used fairly often, as well as some other offensive terms. Part of me understands why these words were used, but more often than not I found it distracting. Maybe because the novel is written in a biblical setting? I'm not sure. But if you greatly dislike profanity, just a heads up.

    That aside, I found Alderman's vivid storytelling incredible, giving readers deeper insight into the historical context of the Gospels. I personally discovered how woefully ignorant of this time period I am. At the end of the book, Alderman provides notes on her sources. I also stopped a number of times to look up "Judea as Roman province" or "prefect Pilate ancient Israel" to get my bearings. When we say in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate," from now on I'll be reminded of the countless others who were also subjected to Pilate's mercilessness.

    The fictional details of the character's personal lives also add to their depth and relatability. We are shown a very human side of Mary, with what I think are completely natural, motherly responses to Jesus' actions. We also see Judas as more than simply "the betrayer." My favorite scenes were the ones between Judas and Jesus: endless questioning, discussing, freedom to wonder and challenge everything. "This questioning is the wisdom I taught you... Use it always with me."

    Through The Liars' Gospel, details of life and faith during early Roman rule of Judea become a rich and vibrant story. Alderman gives a unique Jewish perspective to this familiar Christian account, creating a story that prompts much thoughtful consideration. (Note: Based on the descriptions of B&N's star ratings, I would give this book closer to 3 1/2 stars)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman for a discussion on J

    I read The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman for a discussion on Jen @ Devourer of Books's blog.

    This book, told from 4 different points of view of those who were in his life, tells the story of a man named Yehoshuah.  Yehoshuah preached the word of G-d, healed the sick, and ended up gaining a large following.

    Was Yehoshuah the Messiah?  Or was his story inflated by those who knew him?

    Naomi Alderman fictionalized the story of Yehoshuah, better known as Jesus, as told by his mother, a former confidant, and two others who knew him.

    The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman gave a fictionalized version of the story of Yehoshuah (Jesus), who is portrayed more as a man who has inflated stories told about him than as the potential Messiah.

    Being raised Jewish, the story of Jesus is not something I am very familiar with.  I know the "outline" of the story but not many of the details.

    I really enjoyed this novel, a lot more than I expected!  Naomi Alderman made sure not to alienate her readers by forcing beliefs onto them, but instead told a story that lets the reader decide what to believe.

    Who should read this book?

    Readers who have an open mind about a known religious story told in a different way.  And fellow Jews, don't be scared off by this story, like I was at first.  It was a great read!

    What do you think of a fictionalized telling of a known religious story?

    Thanks for reading,

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    An inventive account

    Interesting and inventive, yet you're not drawn in, the characters don't seem like real people, so you aren't invested in them as human beings. Yehoshua is only a collection of characteristics, not a fully fleshed-out person, and you don't get a sense of why his followers were drwn to him. In fact, the most interesting character is Bar-Avo.

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