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By Andrew on 08-24-17
A fascinating study of the power of faith, but...
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Yes. NW is a fabulous writer and I never wanted to put it down.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Most: Portrayal of a fragile community of faith.
Least: How sectarianism starts/is inevitable (I would've liked more on this)
What three words best describe Nicholas Bell’s performance?
Solemn but salivary (too many swallowing sounds)
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
Niall Williams asks the question "How hard was it, in the first days, to cling to a faith in the extraordinary story of Christ. NW's answer is, soul-destroying hard! The message that Jesus' disciples believed he had brought from heaven must have seemed incredible even to them and their tiny numbers of followers. NW's book is a gripping portrait of the fragility of an early Christian community as it waited in vain for Jesus' return. They were doing so during a time and in a place that, it seems, was unusually full of powerful persuasive cults including competing ones that also Jesus in their narratives. The story is fantastically powerful because we know, of course, how gloriously it unfolded for Christianity in the centuries that followed.
But, "John" is ultimately unsatisfying. NW' resolution of the complex components of doubt that multiply in the book felt to me like a cop out. No spoiler here but I really wanted to know how, without magic, NW felt his characters managed to keep the magical story alive. My sense is NW thinks it must have involved magic but does he really believe that?
Also NW only narrowly avoids Python. At one point someone does say "He's not the messiah!"
Still I recommend the book.