The Testament of Mary

The Testament of Mary

Book - 2012
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In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel -- her keepers, who provide her with food and shelter and visit her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it;" nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the Cross until her son died -- she fled, to save herself), and is equally harsh on her judgement of others. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. T#65533;ib#65533;n's tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2012
ISBN: 9780771084140
Branch Call Number: TOI
Characteristics: 104 p. ;,20 cm

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Albscott17
Jun 12, 2017

Like others who commented here, I didn't know this writers work before reading this book and now I want to read more by him. Not as great as it might have been, the testament of Mary, is a good read and brings the suffering of Jesus and Mary home at a human levels.

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Candaceb108
Apr 29, 2017

I had no idea this book existed, nor had I read any of Colm Toibin. Yes, it is a masterpiece, an 81 page masterpiece. There are so many layers to this book. First, it attempts to express a mother's experience of being a mother. As a woman's body monthly sheds the potential for life, once a mother, she sheds each stage of her children's being. With it there is a gain and a most poignant loss, and in this case a startling realization of her cuddly child's full manhood and accompanying arrogance. Then this particular Mother shows us clearly the politics of religion and Christianity in particular. Religions all require an archetypal myth. "I must face now... how everything that happened will become a sweet story that will grow poisonous...". Toibin shows us how she was used and abused by Peter to create the myth and his ownership of its leadership. Later there is the most important aspect of the myth, that the man had died to save the world. How they made that holistic leap and sold it is beyond belief. He, like most unique individuals of change die only because the powers that be were afraid they'd lose their power and their bread and butter. Behind the pretty, sheer scrim of all religions, the business of money and power goes on.

From a frigid, flaccid statue garbed in the traditional blue and white, smiling at us wanly in many a church Colm gives us reality, a woman's, a mother's reality. How perfect and ironic that at the end in Ephesus she seeks comfort in the gaze of Artemis.

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dano62
Feb 02, 2017

Using the Bible as template, the author expresses in words Mary's recount. There is no other way, he did a good job. I found myself rephrasing some of it due to the writing style. Physical descriptions of Lazarus, the strangler, the Marys' moments with her son (a vision vs not) after he comes down, his changed voice quality when he spoke...are very good, they go deep. He doesn't define her rather adds details like her dusting and cleaning, and her shoes hurting, and ambivalence. Jesus is not named.

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jslade
Oct 28, 2015

Intriguing perspective from the mother of jesus, his rise of influence and his ultimate demise at the hands of Roman overseers. Subtle and not-so-subtle critique of his "miraculaous" powers, their subversive nature, and his megalomania that alienated even his own mother. The ultimate lesson for any who believe they alone will overthrow the prevailing order alone.

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swellsy
Oct 19, 2015

Interesting but not enthraling in my opinion

m
msemos
Jul 27, 2015

interesting writing giving the story of jesus from his mother's viewpoint.

m
mkbech
Mar 07, 2015

rec - sandy

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blackling
Mar 24, 2014

This short tome was refreshingly thoughtful of how the woman might think about her son's martyrdom! *It wasn't worth it*.

It spoke of how we are lower-brained, *homo-minicus*, and non-reflective much more than prefrontal cortex'd homo-sapiens.

It was insightful and by a man; what do you know?! Next men will be questioning why they have continued to promote war, bullying, aggression, domestic violence...

Thank you Colm Tiobin!

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dirtbag1
Feb 25, 2014

A slightly different version of the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Written from the POV of Mary. Sometimes I found the writing to be a bit muddled.

ser_library Dec 14, 2013

i think i held my breath the whole time while reading this book

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dano62
Feb 24, 2017

My guardian, who comes to this house, and the other whom I like even less, they want my description of these hours to be simple, they want to know what words I heard, they want to know about my grief only if it comes as the word 'grief' or the word 'sorrow'.

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dano62
Feb 05, 2017

I was watching anything, a cloud following across the sky, a stone, a man standing in front of me, anything to distract me from the moans that came from close by. I asked myself if there was anything I could do to pretend this was not happening, that it had happened in the past to someone else, or that it was going on in a future I would never have to live through.

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