From Publishers Weekly
Chopra's new novel expands on the themes advanced in his recent nonfiction title The Third Jesus
. The narrative focuses on the mysterious span of time in Christ's life between the ages of 12 and 30. Chopra portrays the young adult Jesus as a malleable figure at the center of a host of pivotal political, cultural and religious shifts. The threads of his spiritual leadership become evident during these formative years, but Christ must devote himself to growing in enlightenment about the full nature of his identity and message. Not surprisingly, Chopra casts the sources of this revelation to include both Western and Eastern perspectives. Chopra's narration may not always maintain a natural flow of dialogue among characters, but the ethereal power of his voice and the evocative manner in which he sets the stage remain effective. Perhaps the most compelling elements of the story line involve Judas and Mary Magdalene, two of New Testament history's most complicated and controversial figures. A HarperOne hardcover. (Nov.)
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In his book Buddha (2007), Chopra pretty much stuck to the accepted outlines of his subject’s life. Here, as he portrays the life of Jesus, Chopra twists the kaleidoscope and offers a very different Messiah than commonly imagined. From his teenage years, Chopra’s Jesus knows that something calls to him, but he is unsure what. He receives signs and portents; profound and profane characters come his way. Still, this restless soul is unsure of his role, even after spending five years among the Essenes before he begins his public ministry. More is learned when he finds in the mountains a holy man, who, we learn, is the story’s narrator. That encounter gives Jesus the knowledge (i.e., the enlightenment) to return to Jerusalem and fulfill his destiny. Although Chopra keeps returning to fiction, it is not really his forte; his philosophical ideas have much more potency when served up without characters, plotting, and dialogue—the latter is a particular problem. That said, Chopra has some intriguing ideas about Jesus and his true message that may prompt worthwhile discussion. --Ilene Cooper