Review by Ada Brunstein
"It is important to quiet the lamb, that is the first thing." So begins Naomi Alderman's The Liars' Gospel, a fictional account of Jesus' life set against the backdrop of the Jews' struggles against Roman rule.
Alderman gives us four points of view, or gospels, on the life of Yehoshuah (Jesus), focusing mainly on the time between his departure from home and his death. We hear from his mother, Miryam (Mary), who laments her son's departure and has trouble accepting him in his new role as a “teacher.”
We hear from his follower, confidant, and later his betrayer, Iehuda (Judas), one of the most compelling characters in this story. It is through Iehuda's eyes that we see Yehoshuah evolve from a man who has gathered a few supporters through his messages of forgiveness and healing, to a man who is leading a movement of thousands of followers. Through Iehuda we see how Yehoshuah loses his way gradually, in small missteps, veering incrementally farther away from the messages he started his teachings with and into a more self-serving role.
We hear from the high priest, Caiaphas, whose life's work was to maintain the precarious balance between the desires of the Jews and the demands of the Romans.
And finally we hear from a young Jewish rebel, Bar-Avo (Barabbas), in whose hands lies the fate of the Jewish people at the time.
Continue reading the review and an interview with the author, Naomi Alderman.