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The Fire Gospel (2008)

by Michel Faber(Favorite Author)
3.04 of 5 Votes: 3
1847672787 (ISBN13: 9781847672780)
Canongate Books Ltd
review 1: After Saramago's Gospel According to Jesus Christ, I've read another gospel book. It couldn't be more different, except that both books present JC as a human being with a natural terror of dying by torture. His last words on the cross were 'Somebody stop this!', at least according to Malchus, who, as you may remember from the Book of John, was a servant of Caiaphas, the high priest who was behind the plot to kill Jesus. The main character of Faber's book is a Canadian linguist and world expert in Aramaic, Jesus' native language. He narrowly escapes death in a bombing in Mosul, Iraq, where he's been sent to try and rescue ancient treasures from the depredations of warfare. A statue opens in the bombing and out falls a set of papyri which contain a fifth gospel, written by M... morealchus, now a convert to Christ, in Aramaic. In other words, he has found a gospel which is a genuine record, not something written down in Greek many generations later. The story is a amusing tale of Theo's successful attempt to get rich by translating and publishing the fifth gospel, but it also has its serious side, presenting a telling attack on religious fundamentalism, both Christian and Muslim. A hilarious chapter has Theo trawling through the Amazon reviews of his book: Faber caricatures the very sort of text I am writing here. It's a light read, not up to the standard of Faber's best books, but entertaining and thought-provoking.
review 2: I love Faber's writing: economic prose, descriptions that work because they latch onto tiny details (watching a fleck of dust in a glass of red wine...)cutting wit and good parody (the Amazon reviews are great!) I liked the anti-heroism of the main character: the way that Faber gets you to feel with him but not necessarily like or respect him. And the vein of irony in the plot: the constant undercutting of what ought to be momentous by little trivialities; of spiritual heroism by the realities of the body... I think the reviews which have said that it's not really a novel are right: it's called a myth and that feels like a more apposite description. I prefer the rich dense Victoriana of the Crimson Petal and the White, but there's stuff for contemplation here... May reread it. less
Reviews (see all)
Nice concept, but seriously, where is the rest of the story? It seems very much unfinished.
I rarely can't finish a book, but found myself skimming this one.
Clever premise, well crafted sentences, and not overly long.
Thanks Mr Faber, you've done it again.
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