Title: The Liars’ Gospel
Author: Naomi Alderman
Publication Date: August 30, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: This is a book that I would not have been likely to pick up if it hadn’t been offered to me by the publisher to read. And it’s honestly not surprising to me that the reviews on this book are pretty much at either end of the spectrum. Some people have a very hard time thinking objectively when they feel something touches close to their belief system, especially if it asks them to consider a different possibility or perspective.
The Liar’s Gospel is a work of historical fiction that looks at Jerusalem during the time of Roman occupation through the eyes of four people: Miryam (Mary), Iehuda (Judas), Caiaphas, and Bar-Avo (Barabbas). While, obviously, one common thread between these is the life of Yehoshuah (Jesus), I personally saw this as a text that looks much more at everyone else. It attempts to understand the political climate that existed at the time and how others may have viewed (or been forced to view) the situation and their options. It reflects the struggles of a people against an oppressive imperial regime and also points out just how often the story that ends up being told or remembered often leaves out both the struggles and accomplishments of those who aren’t central to the prevailing thread. As Alderman’s own epilogue states “Storytellers know that every story is at least partly a lie. Every story could be told in four different ways, or forty or four thousand. Every emphasis or omission is a kind of lie, shaping a moment to make a point. […] Do not imagine that a storyteller is unaware of the effect of every word she chooses. Do not suppose for a moment tat an impartial observer exists.” And this text illustrates that assertion splendidly.
(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)