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Children of God (2014)

af Lars Petter Sveen

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Daring and original stories set in New Testament times, from a rising young Norwegian author Lars Petter Sveen's Children of God recounts the lives of people on the margins of the New Testament; thieves, Roman soldiers, prostitutes, lepers, healers, and the occasional disciple all get a chance to speak. With language free of judgment or moralizing, Sveen covers familiar ground in unusual ways. In the opening story, a group of soldiers are tasked with carrying out King Herod's edict to slaughter the young male children in Bethlehem but waver in their resolve. These interwoven stories harbor surprises at every turn, as the characters reappear. A group of thieves on the road to Jericho encounters no good Samaritan but themselves. A boy healed of his stutter will later regress. A woman searching for her lover from beyond the grave cannot find solace. At crucial moments an old blind man appears, urging the characters to give in to their darker impulses.… (mere)
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Blurbed as "biblical fan fiction by a genius," I can only agree. Told as disparate, sometimes connecting chapters, this collection of stories that occur in the time of Jesus focuses on ancillary characters mentioned in the Bible, or imagined [others, including the soldiers who are sent to slaughter the Jewish babies born around the time of Jesus's birth; some of the disciples otherwise rarely mentioned in the Bible, such as Andrew; and his lover Anna, a woman who survives according to the men she is with; Jacob, a young man whose stuttering is "cured" by Jesus, and whose faith is challenged by doubt (and his stuttering returns); and members of a gang of thieves and murderers, whose path crosses Jesus's. Women are a special focus, as is the spirit of evil encompassed by a gray old man with gray eyes who is the shadow of everything and everyone, and who continues to reappear when faith is challenged. The setting and way of life, especially a nomadic life dependent upon strangers taking you in, were thoroughly described, bringing this era and geographic setting into sharp detail. A hard life it was. An original, fascinating read by someone who has obviously studied the Bible with diligence, yet without judgment or proclamations or need of faith, but need for the story, the story of their lives, the pattern discernible in those stories, and where they will lead. ( )
  sungene | Jul 4, 2019 |
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Daring and original stories set in New Testament times, from a rising young Norwegian author Lars Petter Sveen's Children of God recounts the lives of people on the margins of the New Testament; thieves, Roman soldiers, prostitutes, lepers, healers, and the occasional disciple all get a chance to speak. With language free of judgment or moralizing, Sveen covers familiar ground in unusual ways. In the opening story, a group of soldiers are tasked with carrying out King Herod's edict to slaughter the young male children in Bethlehem but waver in their resolve. These interwoven stories harbor surprises at every turn, as the characters reappear. A group of thieves on the road to Jericho encounters no good Samaritan but themselves. A boy healed of his stutter will later regress. A woman searching for her lover from beyond the grave cannot find solace. At crucial moments an old blind man appears, urging the characters to give in to their darker impulses.

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