"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)
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.
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Poetic, painful, important
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.
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.
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.
Whether you are religious or (like myself) rather decidedly not, this is a beautiful, moving, thought-provoking story that is well worth your time.
to read is one of life's greatest pleasures. to hear (audible) is becoming another! me? retired, female, traveller.
Meryl Streep is completely brilliant. She IS Mary; her reading takes you to that whole other world. The 'story', tho world-known, is recognisable but with an incredible whole other take on it - the mother, the woman......
This is the second Colm Toibin book (after Brooklyn) I have listened to here. The Testament of Mary gives a plausible historical account to some extent. Meryl Streep reads it superbly! Loved it.
Bookish with a long and aimless commute.
I am quite familiar with Toibin's work - so I was glad to find this available. I'm afraid I didn't take to it as easily as I did to Brooklyn, Nora Webster and others. Part of that for me is the setting and context - it wasn't as enrapturing as his modern worlds.
I thought that Streep's narration was pretty good - confident and assured, although perhaps a little monotone. That may have been because there isn't a great deal of 'action' - except for the climax of the crucifixion.
The female-centred experience is definitely still a key focus. If you're looking for a different and new perspective on the canon Christianity - you will enjoy this.
I had to stop listening to this book about half way through. There was no life to the readings ( which is a great pity given the fact that they had such a great actor, M.S ). I found it dull and monotone, I think it was the author not the narrator, and very depressing.
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