Tag: pentecostal

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

Posted September 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Testament of Mary by Colm TóibínTitle: The Testament of Mary (Goodreads)
Author: Colm Tóibín
Published: Picador, 2013
Pages: 104
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

In the town of Ephesus, Mary lived alone. She had no interest in collaborating with the authors of the gospels. For her, the crucifixion of her son years ago has left her indifferent to the rest of the world. Whether or not she believes that his death was worth it, he was still her son and witnessing the events that lead to him dying have been very emotional. This is The Testament of Mary.

I read this book on the Nativity of Mary (September 8th); while I’m not Catholic it felt like the perfect day to read this novella. The book is both bitter sweet and full of rage; not for or against Catholicism. While the author Colm Tóibín is born Irish Catholic but now identifies as an atheist. While this book isn’t theologically sound, it was an interesting look into what it might have been like to watch Jesus’s journey on earth.

I never really thought about what it might have been like to witness miracles, resurrections and the crucifixion of Jesus. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be the mother of Jesus, let alone experiencing all these unexpected events involving her son. The rage, the compassion, the isolation and pride that Mary must of experience all comes into play in this novella.

The Testament of Mary is a tender and heart breaking book, not really religious or anti religious. The balance is just right. The only problem I have is the theology but I have to let this go and remind myself that this was a work a fiction. Being raised as a Pentecostal, I never really cared too much about the life of Mary apart from her giving birth to Jesus but then going onto marry a Catholic my views have changed a little. My views towards Mary may not be in line with my wife’s but that is beside the point.

A quick and interesting work of fiction into the life of Mary; I loved the way this book was written. It really had a way of sweeping me into a story and expressing the emotions she faced in an affectionate and sour way. We have no idea what Mary would have felt but I can only imagine the fixed emotions that went through her mind. While this novella is haunting and stubborn in it’s approach, it is a compassionate and provocative read; this doesn’t work to counteract each other but only highlights the beauty of the mixed emotions.