Colm Toibin eyes Booker Prize with dark Gospel tale “Testament of Mary”
What surprises Irish author Colm Toibin about his latest book is that it hasn’t been burned.
But he hopes the lack of controversy will not hold back his dark retelling of the Gospels, “The Testament of Mary,” from winning the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday at his third attempt.
In the novel, an ageing, broken Mary bitterly recounts how “malcontents and half-crazed soothsayers” surrounded her son, helped lead him to a cruel death and then twisted his story to build a new faith.
In a country where just a few decades ago the Catholic Church could end the careers of writers it disapproved of, there has not been so much as an e-mail to complain about a work that describes the gospels as “poisonous berries.”
“It is really interesting that you can write a book like this here and publish it and not a word,” said Toibin, 58, in an interview en route to the prize ceremony in London from Los Angeles.
“It hasn’t been controversial. It isn’t as though it’s been burned anywhere.”