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Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Testament of Mary:
"This is a short book, but it is as dense as a diamond. It is as tragic as a Spanish pieta, but it is completely heretical...Tóibín maintains all the dignity of Mary without subscribing to the myths that have accumulated around her" (Edmund White, Irish Times)
"A beautiful and daring work...it takes its power from the surprise of its language, its almost shocking characterization" (Mary Gordon, New York Times)
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013
The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Testament of Mary, the powerful new novel by Colm Tóibín, read by Meryl Streep.
From the author of Brooklyn, 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.
Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary is the moving story of the Virgin Mary, told by a novelist famous for writing brilliantly about the family.
Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland, in 1955. He is the author of six novels, including The Blackwater Lightship, The Master (both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize), and Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel Award, and two collections of stories, Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family.
©2014 Penguin Books Limited (P)2014 Penguin Books Limited
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Hannah on 09-02-14

Beautiful writing, beautifully read

If you could sum up The Testament of Mary in three words, what would they be?

Poetic, painful, important

What did you like best about this story?

The Testament of Mary invites the reader to see the events of the New Testament through the eyes of the woman at the centre of everything who is so often overlooked. As an atheist with an interest in theology, I expected to find the content interesting, knew that the writer was of an excellent quality and know that I really enjoy Meryl Streep's work (who doesn't?!) - yet I did not expect to feel so moved. This is a deeply personal story of woman who's narrative is, in so many ways, dictated by the men around her. I loved it.

Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favourite?

The story is told entirely from the perspective of Mary in the last few days of her life, looking back. Streep performs the part expertly.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, absolutely - though (perhaps particularly as this story is not a long one) I don't want to ruin anything. Mary's realisation that she is no longer autonomous in the remembering of her grief was really quite upsetting.

Any additional comments?

Whether you are religious or (like myself) rather decidedly not, this is a beautiful, moving, thought-provoking story that is well worth your time.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful


By wizzaw on 01-12-17

no pause at the end

[{ "answer" : "good book but there is literally NO PAUSE AT THE END between the soft, beautiful ending and the harsh, clangy Audible spoken note at the end that crashed in like an unwanted drunk uncle at a funeral at x10 the volume of the book.

i'm not even exaggerating when i say it has sort of ruined the whole experience of the book for me. how hard is it to leave a 10 second pause at the end", "type" : "Overall", "question" : "If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more? ", "id" : 230, "typeString" : "overall" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Story", "question" : "Would you be willing to try another book from Colm Tóibín? Why or why not?", "id" : 200, "typeString" : "story" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Performance", "question" : "Which scene did you most enjoy?", "id" : 215, "typeString" : "performance" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Genre", "question" : "If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Testament of Mary?", "id" : 253, "typeString" : "genre" }, { "answer" : "", "type" : "Misc", "question" : "Any additional comments?", "id" : -1, "typeString" : "misc" } ]

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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