It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m single and drowning my many woes in literature, per usual. I’m also juggling two books at once, because I picked up The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ at a charity shop and I couldn’t put it down, even though I’m still halfway through A Hero of Our Time.
A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
Finally! A Russian novel whose characters I can actually keep track of, and (sort of) pronounce their names. It documents the life of Pechorin from different people’s perspective, and it is genuinely interesting. Wordy in some passages – but I wasn’t expecting anything less – , Pechorin is an intriguing character who is bored out of his mind for the majority of his life, and is possibly one of the most Byronic Byronic heroes that I’ve ever read about. This has revitalised my appetite for Russian literature, and I may even start War and Peace for the umpteenth time.
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
I absolutely love Philip Pullman. I devoured the His Dark Materials trilogy, and then went to see him speak at the Oxford Literary Festival last year, and when I saw this book at the charity shop yesterday, I started devouring that as well. A story based on the New Testament, it completely turns the notion of Jesus on its head – for there’s not one Jesus Christ. There’s two. Jesus and Christ are twins; both born in a stable, both brought up by Mary and Joseph. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the rest of this novel, but I’m certain that it’s going to blow my mind. I’ve just read the version of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by Satan, and WOAH. It’s altered my views on religion, and on evil. I’m a Catholic with lots of questions – my RE exercise book is littered with them – and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is just fuel for even more. Fantastic book. Even though my RE teacher may hate me after I’ve bombarded her with questions.