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Topic: Anyone read Mary of Nazareth by Marek Halter? *Spoilers, no doubt!*

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Subject: Anyone read Mary of Nazareth by Marek Halter? *Spoilers, no doubt!*
Date Posted: 9/4/2010 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,535
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Has anyone read it?  I finished this a week or so ago. 

Normally, I really love Marek Halter's books.  Sarah, Zipporah, and Lilah were wonderful.

I enjoyed this one, too.  But I found it very hard to believe this was Mary's story.  Without giving away too much, he made her too different--too much of a rebel for me to believe the story.

Did anyone else have the same problem as I did?  Or, did you find the story to be believable in it's own way?

I think I would have enjoyed it more if had been a novel about a woman living in that time period--any woman.  It would have been a great story then.

Last Edited on: 9/26/10 10:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/12/2010 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Melody, finished it last night. I completely agree w your assessment----just not believable for the time period. I thought the premise--a novel about who Mary herself was--was a good one, I just found myself thinking, "No way."  For example, at 15 she runs off, ALONE, sleeps for many nights in the company of a band of thieves/rebels, to rescue her father---with virtually no consequences, socially speaking? No way.  She defies various authorities at every turn, and again, no social consequences? No way.

I loved the author's exacting detail research on the historical side, I just think a) it was hard for a grown man to tell a believable story from a young girl/woman's point of view (especially this woman) and b) he did not view it from the 'social mores' of the times point of view carefully enough to get over that believability hump for me.

I also wasn't sure what to make of his insertion of himself at the end and Mary's gospel. The theory that Christ was alive and spiritied away persists, and is an incredibly interesting jumping off point in its own right, but what did that add to Mary's story? I'm still pondering on that.

Date Posted: 9/26/2010 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,535
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Colleen, I am a big fan of Marek Halter.  His other novels on bibilical era women are well written and completely believable.  But, like you, I came away from Mary with a feeling of "Yeah right!"  I don't think I bought the theory that a young woman would have this much freedom.

As you said, their were no social consequences for her actions.  At a time when being seen with a man who was not your Father, Brother, or Husband was grounds for being stoned to death or cast out, I could not accept that Mary would somehow be able to run all over town, between villages, etc. by herself or with men who were strangers/not related. 

I think Halter made her too heroic.  I would have preferred a much more down to earth version of Mary's story.  I think I would have enjoyed a story of a young woman who gets pregnant and makes up a story about the baby's origins over a story of woman who defies every societal law and is going to rebel against the Roman's all by herself.

I agree about the ending as well.  Interesting, but what was the purpose of adding it?  It was almost like he turned that section over to Dan Brown. ;)

Date Posted: 9/28/2010 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,509
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I've not read it, but I find Halter to be hit or miss. I adored "The Book of Abraham" but found "Sarah" to be only so-so. I have "Zipporah" around here but haven't read it yet.