Philip Pullman is an absolutely incredible writer, and although The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ was not what I expected, it’s still a damn fine book.
A (shorter) re-telling of the New Testament, Pullman’s novel asks more questions instead of answers them; which for me is ideal, because it has given me fuel for even more questions to ask at school. Instead of Jesus Christ being one person, he’s two – twin brothers Jesus and Christ. That’s more than enough for me to be mind-blown, but the way in which Pullman has handled some of the Bible stories (such as Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Judas’ betrayal and even the resurrection) in order to incorporate the brothers is truly incredible. These adaptations caused me to sit, open-mouthed in the middle of Costa, and just think ‘Why?’ (always a good question to ask) – and ‘Why has Pullman decided to fuck with my mind like this?’.
There’s no flowery language, just a cold, hard narration. Very plain, very Biblical – but with an atheist’s touch. Are the miracles really miracles, or are the results simply owing to human determination? Is religion all a sham? Why is the world so captivated with a guy wandering round in a sheet who claims to be the Son(s) of God? Throughout the novel there are hints (actually, they’re more like whack-you-in-the-face statements) about a slightly different Jesus Christ, and I loved it. I’m a Catholic, but I still ask a lot of questions, and the new light that this novel has thrown on my religion is a very interesting one indeed.
I’d give this three and a half stars out of five – an intriguing, curious read for those interested in religion and philosophy (or not!), that throws a lot of questions that may never be answered.
Any thoughts? Comment below!
I should be working (can I have a hell yeah for poetry and deadlines) but instead I’m reading about Todorov’s Fantastic theory and grooving to Marina and the Diamonds – the height of procrastination.