From its dramatic opening in which a trader lies dying in a tent while his caravan continues on to Jericho without him, to the confusing days following the death of Jesus, Crace's novel of forty days' "quarantine" in the wilderness startles, fascinates, and ultimately haunts. Readers who embrace a literal interpretation of the Bible may be offended by the premise and plot of this novel, in which Jesus and four other pilgrims seek spiritual enlightenment in separate caves in the bleak wilderness. Each, including Jesus, faces personal demons as s/he wrestles with solitude, starvation, and thirst. For those who regard events in the New Testament as symbolic, rather than literal, the novel offers a surprising new way of experiencing and interpreting the trials in the wilderness, the death and burial of Jesus, and ultimately the influence of Jesus on succeeding generations.
Crace's descriptions of the natural world are breathtaking. Using vivid verbs, musical cadences, unique metaphors, and acutely perceived observations about man, nature, and the spirit, he brings the wilderness into sharp focus, often personifying nature and its creatures without a trace of romanticism. "The clouds came down to sniff the hills, to scratch their bellies on the thorns," "Clouds and lightning moved away, banging on their shields," and sounds of wind that "could be mistaken for the vast percussion of the storm-pressed, canvas billows of a ship" are among the hundreds of vibrant and unique images which bring nature to life and illustrate man's closeness to it. With a similar focus on men as humans within nature and the wilderness, he attempts to recreate the quarantine experience and man's desire to connect with a higher power. Jesus, like the other pilgrims, is human here, a man rooted in the real world of his day and subject to the same urges as other men. He is different from them, however, in his determination not to yield to privation as he seeks union with God through his visions and hallucinations.
This was a powerful and thought provoking book about compassion and suffering. While it is set during Jesus' fasting in the desert, the narrative focuses more on the other people in the same area and their struggles and dreams. I especially liked the interactions between the women Miri and Marta.
This is one man's version of Jesus' forty days and forty nights (or his quarantine) in the desert. I expected to DNF this book before I started it, but it was actually very interesting and difficult to put down. It's told from not only the perspective of Jesus, but also at different times from the POV of several other interesting characters who are doing their own version of 'quarantine' in nearby caves. I'm not a Christian and don't believe in the "Jesus as the son of God" thing but I still found the whole story very interesting. Looking for more of Crace's work.
Interesting tale of the lives of a stranded caravan merchant & his wife along with 5 people who came to fast in the caves.
Two thousand years ago four travellers enter the Judean desert to fast and pray for their lost souls. In the blistering heat and barren rocks they encouter the evil merchant Musa-madman, rapist , even a Satan-who holds them in his tyrannical power. Yet there is also another, a faint figure in the distance, fasting for forty days, a Galilean who they say has the power to work miracles. Here, trapped in the wilderness, their terrifying battle for survival begins.
Wow now this book I never thought I would enjoy but it was an amazing one...Definitely a book that you should read. I really recommend it to anyone! First of all, it starts out with a group of people who are on a trip which includes over a month long fasting. On their trip they come across a man and his wife. The woman thought her husband was going to die so she went off to dig his grave and while gone, Jesus came and gave him water and took some items from his home. Now this husband is a real piece of work. The woman being pregnant was very sick of being with him, he was always a jerk to her. All he cared about was money. He wanted her to wait on him hand and foot and do things that were dangerous to her while pregnant. Upon meeting these people whom the husband immediately took advantage of, it becomes a journey of love and hardship for all. I think I should let you read from here...don't want to give it all away. I will say, however, that it has one of the best endings that you would ever expect from a book that really seems quite terrifying! Enjoy!