Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August British Book Challenge 2011: The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ

Title: The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ
Author: Philip Pullman
Published: Canongate Books ltd, 2010

This is a story. In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turned. For, above all, this book is about how stories become stories. 
from Publisher's website
Black clouds: I'm slightly swapping the order of the review this time, because frankly that's how I felt about it. The book is written in the style of the bible, which, eh, well let's face it, while full of amazing stories and an all time best seller, is not written in a very gripping way. I felt alienated and disconnected from the characters, the main ones being Jesus and Christ. And apart from the clever twists, I kind of already knew what was going to happen.
 Star parts:  And in a way, that's the beauty of the book. In big gold letters on the back of the book are the words: This is a story. Read the blurb above, it's all about how stories become stories, and that is when the story kicks off. When Christ is confronted by the stranger who asks why he is writing Jesus's words down the story takes off. It's no longer a clever retelling of the most retold story in the world, now it becomes a story in its own right. What will Christ do, what are Jesus's motivations, who is he, because Pullman doesn't paint him as a god, far from it. In the end, being a bit of a story teller myself, I found myself liking the book more and more. The last line is an absolute classic. 

   Do I recommend it: Yes, yes I do. Because the beginning, the bit I didn't like, that is all part of it really. I think it's Pullman's way of saying that it's the story that counts, THIS is how you write a story. But, that's what I think. I'd like to know what you think if you've read it. 

This is the eleventh book I've reviewed for the British Book Challenge.

Also just in case you had forgotten, there is NO USE CRYING about going back to work TOMORROW, but if you don't believe me, then come back tomorrow to find out why Zannah Kearns thinks so too. It will all be very exciting, I promise you.


Becky said...

So you've convinced me that I should read this. I've been dithering but it does sound like it's rewarding once you get into it. Thanks!

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Wow, I've convinced you! That's a compliment. When I was in the UK recently there were big ads for it on the tube. And my Mum's vicar had mentioned it, so she'd heard it. Then my dad took one look at it and said he would like to read it too. And that was all before my review.

David Powers King said...

Hello, fellow campaigner! I'm not in your group, but I still wanted to check out your blog and say, "HI!"

Thanks for the rundown on this book. I'll have to look into it. :)


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