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The Book of Longings

The Book of Longings

A Novel

eBook - 2020
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"An extraordinary novel . . . a triumph of insight and storytelling." —Associated Press
"A true masterpiece." —Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed
An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.
Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.
Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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k
KelseyHanson_1
Jun 07, 2021

I absolutely loved this book. Easily one of my new favorites.

a
amberley23
May 28, 2021

Amazingly researched and beautifully written!

d
Debramsey
Mar 08, 2021

Very good - enjoyed how she tied in other stories of history into this fictitious novel

e
ellenorndorf
Feb 26, 2021

Cecilia borrowed me this book. It focuses on a woman who would become Jesus's wife. The author took a lot of "license" in writing this book. I thought it was "ok" not sure if I would recommend it or not.

LCPL_Cindy Feb 24, 2021

Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and completely plausible. Young men in Jesus’ time were expected to marry and support their family. I have no qualms imagining that Jesus could have lived a fully human life with flaws, desires, and regrets. In the deepest recesses of my mind, I wanted the details of this tale to be true. I want Ana and Yaltha and Chaya to be real. Kudos to author Sue Monk Kidd for having an open mind and the guts to give these female characters the strength and power to rise up and be heard!

m
Margush
Feb 23, 2021

Fantasy! I enjoyed the historical and cultural details.

e
Einer2
Feb 22, 2021

Definitely another interesting book from this author celebrating women. The Secret Lives of Bees still tops my list.

k
KatG1983
Jan 27, 2021

I adored this fictional imagining of Jesus' wife, Ana of Nazareth. I appreciated the thorough research Monk did into not only the historical era, but with religious texts. Ana's story is of a girl who grew up dreaming of independence, and we are privileged to follow her through her own story of purpose and faith. It is true that Jesus himself is more of a guest star in the book, but I preferred it that way. The book is filled with the stories of strong women living in a time of total oppression. Their love for each other is what saw them through. Additionally, I would say that the book depicts Jesus more as revolutionary than Messiah - which I think really works to its favour. I found the story deeply moving, and the end had me in tears. Highly recommend.

y
young_librarian
Jan 13, 2021

I don't feel right giving this book a star rating, as I ended up DNF'ing it. However, I did get to the 82% mark, so I feel that I can speak on what exactly made me quit reading. I would like to say that the first part of the novel, which follows our protagonist, Ana, as she grows up in her parents' home and navigates an arranged marriage and advances from Herod, was interesting. I enjoyed reading about how she felt oppressed and just wanted to become a scribe, not a wife. However, the entire premise being that she is Jesus's wife felt more like a marketing ploy to hook readers into the book rather than an actual important plot point. Jesus spent most of his time off the page and many times "appeared" only when Ana was lamenting being separated from him for one reason or another (Jesus works away from home a lot, one of them must run to Alexandria or risk being arrested, etc.). This isn't necessarily what I had a problem with. What really irked me was that Ana became more irritating as the story went on. Even when she realized she was being selfish asking other characters for things, she still did those things, and for some reason the other characters went along with Ana's requests, even when there wasn't a solid relationship built between the two. Everything was a little too convenient for Ana, even as she was dealing with hardships.

p
pozrob
Jan 12, 2021

A tepid attempt to fictionalize what has been suggested in many books (The Lost Gospel and Veritas) to name two, about Jesus having taken a wife. Did he? I doubt we will ever know given how scripture has been translated, retranslated, lost and found, etc over the centuries. It wouldn’t take a great leap of faith to believe it if he did. After all he was a rigidly devout Jewish man. It (marriage) was required by biblical law to do so. I did not finish this book not because I found it offensive or blasphemous, it wasn’t at all in my opinion. I just thought it was poorly written. I guess the greatest story ever told should be left well enough alone.

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