"All my life I have loved the Sabbath."
So begins Colm Toibin's devastating novella The Testament of Mary
My son was wearing rich clothes and he was moving as though the clothes belonged to him as of right...
I held him to me and I whispered:
"You are in great danger. You are being watched"...
Even before I had finished speaking, he had moved away from me.
"Woman, what have I to do with thee," he said and then again louder so that it was heard all around. "Woman, what have I to do with thee."
"I am your mother," I said. But by this time he had begun to talk to others, high flown talk and riddles, using strange proud terms to describe himself and his task in the world. I heard him saying – I heard it then and I noticed how heads bowed all around when he said it – I heard him saying that he was the son of God.
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.
As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
About the Author
Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955 and currently lives in Dublin. He is the author of five previous novels, collections of short stories and many works of non-fiction. He has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004), while The Master won The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2006).
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Number Of Pages: 112
Published: 1st November 2012
Dimensions (cm): 20.8 x 13.8 x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.224