Now, a break from our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: Tom welcome a best-selling author who has written a fascinating novel that takes place before COVID-19. Way before.
The plot unfolds in 1st-century Palestine and Egypt, in locales that are familiar to anyone with even the most minimal knowledge of Christianity and Judaism. It is peopled with figures whose imprint on biblical history is indisputable, and it includes a gutsy and intriguing turn of imagination.
In her new novel, The Book of Longings, Sue Monk Kidd imagines a marriage between Jesus of Nazareth and a gifted young woman named Ana. As Ana navigates the patriarchal and misogynist culture of the Biblical era, Ms. Kidd crafts a portrait of Jesus as a person, a delightful one at that, looking past his standing as a holy icon...
There have been those who have asserted historical evidence that proves Jesus was married. But in this gem of a novel, we are treated to a novelist’s fascinating and ambitious take on what it might have meant if Jesus had, in fact, been happily married...and how that might have changed the course of history for the political and religious rights of women.
Sue Monk Kidd joins us on the phone from her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
[The author invites readers to join her virtual book club during May for communal readings and discussions of The Book of Longings.]