- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (February 5, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159691467X
- ISBN-13: 978-1596914674
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,366,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
John: A Novel Hardcover – February 5, 2008
|New from||Used from|
"The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones
“The Other Woman is an absorbing thriller with a great twist. A perfect beach read.” ― Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of "The Great Alone" Pre-order today
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
With plenty of imagination and occasionally grandiloquent prose, Williams (Four Letters of Love) pens the last days of the Apostle John, the beloved disciple of Jesus who, tradition says, wrote the wild, apocalyptic book of Revelation as well as the Gospel and Epistles of John. The story begins as John, blind and nearly 100 years old, lives banished on the Island of Patmos where he once received his portentous vision. Surrounded by doubting disciples of his own who pepper him with questions about Christ's return and speak heresy, John remembers his time with Jesus. Williams's present tense narration lends urgency as he interweaves dark and sometimes grotesquely violent threads throughout his story. He beautifully portrays the Christ-followers' loneliness as they yearn for the return of their Messiah and despair at the reception of the Christian message. Some of Williams's prose is fresh and elegant (a bright wind hammers silver out of the sea); at other times it is confusing (the trader unsnaps dogs of curses). The second half of the book loses momentum, but offers interesting conjectures about the explosion of dissenting beliefs after Jesus' death and how people of the time might have responded. This novel will appeal to readers who like imaginative and gritty sagas of the lives of key Christians in the early church as well as those who value lyricism. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“In 'John' ($25, Bloomsbury). Irish author Niall Williams spent four years researching the last days of John the Apostle. He used that information as the structure for a novel about what a frail, blind John and his followers might have done during their exile to an island and return to a world of religious sects. What if this John was the one to have written the gospel of John? What would be the invariable clashes between faith and doubt under stress? Williams' lyrical writing and sense of place is a plus although there are a few times when a reader might just want to move on a little more quickly.” ―The Olympian
“ Readership is guaranteed where biblical sagas like The Red Tent (1997) and Pilate's Wife (2006) enjoyed popular success.” ―Booklist
“Irish novelist Williams takes spiritual issues seriously--and continues to write compellingly about them.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Plenty of imagination and occasionally grandiloquent prose….beautifully portrays the Christ-followers' loneliness as they yearn for the return of their Messiah….fresh and elegant….This novel will appeal to readers who like imaginative and gritty sagas of the lives of key Christians in the early church as well as those who value lyricism.” ―Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story moves along between the characters and touches the heart deeply. John's faith, his humanity, his struggles and triumphs. The questions of faith we all struggle with. The book left me with images that I recall in my everyday life to transport me to a life of faith; longing to serve and also to be home, truly home.
A satisfied smile as I closed the book.
I have been involved in Christian Bible study for many years, and our group is to study the Book of Revelations next, which was of course written by John the Apostle. This book has given me a much broader knowledge of John himself and the conditions faced by the early Christians.
I hope this book will gain the wide readership it deserves!
While there are some fine descriptive passages - particularly about the forces of nature and also about diseases - the style will not appeal to everyone: many one-line paragraphs, one-word sentences.
We meet John some years after he had been exiled during the persecutions of the Christians by the Emperor Domitian in around 91 AD to the bleak and storm-lashed island of Patmos. There, having been stricken blind by a vision, he had dictated the Book of Revelations to one Prochorus. Now very old, frail and blind, he is the revered leader of a number of fellow exiles who had never known Jesus personally and for whom he is the only living link with him. He has told them to expect the return of Jesus. They have waited for so long for this event that some of them are beginning to lose faith in John, and even in the divinity of Christ. It does not help that John has become uncommunicative and at times imperious. He had taught them the power of prayer, but their prayers to save sick people from death are not answered, and even John himself is shaken by this. One Matthias (I think Williams has invented him), the unscrupulous ringleader of the sceptics, not only develops arguments against Christ's divinity, but also manufactures `miracles' of his own to show that God is working through him, to consolidate his hold over the others and to challenge John's leadership. He leads a secession of more than half of John's followers, most of the younger men among them. (Personally, I think it is a pity that Williams has in this crude way equated the protagonist of Doubt with Evil, so that the story becomes one of a battle between Good and Evil, and not, as it should be exclusively, one between Faith and Doubt, in which the case for Doubt is both more respectable and more powerful.) Of the younger men only one stays with John and continues to have faith in him and his teaching: he is Papias. (Papias would later become Bishop of Hierapolis. In a fragment of his writings he said that he had been a hearer of John the Presbyter.)
The Emperor Domitian dies. The state-organized persecution of Christians ends: they may return from their exile. The little band remaining around John believes that it is sign that God's kingdom is coming nearer, and they go with him to Ephesus, where John had lived before his banishment, to resume their mission. It is not easy: they have become used to living for years as an intimate community in their quiet seclusion, and they know that further ordeals lie ahead of them as they face the wider and bustling world once again. And Ephesus is dominated by the Temple of Artemis, and all manner of other cults flourish there. Matthias has preceded them there, has built up a cult following of his own, has won over some of those whom John had known to be true believers and who are now his enemies. The disciples, and even John himself, are shaken to see that what they believe to be their mission is met with so little response. But of course the book of this religious author cannot end in their despair or in their feeling that they have failed if in their lifetime they cannot convert the world and cannot see the return of Christ. They will die before that time, but the Word will live and endure.