Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Review of Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana"

Ok, the time has come for me to review this book.

I must admit, I finished it over a month ago, but I've been putting off writing about it. I don't know how to put this -- the task of writing about this book has seemed daunting to me. When I approach the task, it seems to grow as I get close, and scares me off. Not because I didn't like it -- far from it! Just... well, read on.

I gave the first book in this series, "Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt", a glowing review in a previous post. That book was about Jesus as a child, and in my review I compared it to Harry Potter, and joked about the possibility of a tie-in video game. That was a great book.

What do I think of this one? This one's also great -- better maybe --but this one doesn't make me want to joke about Harry Potter and video games. How to review this? "Out of Egypt" started out slow. The first couple of chapters just about made me want to put it down. It ratcheted up slowly, pulling you in. This one's slow toward the beginning too, and the fact that it starts out with Jesus at 30 somehow put me off at first. I guess I expected it to pick up right where the last one left off. But this one didn't grow on me like the last one. This one suddenly reached out and took me by the throat.

There's a scene toward the beginning, where Jesus is confronted by a seasoned old Jewish lawyer -- for me, that was when this story suddenly ceased being words on a page and became something I was experiencing.

That's really what I want to say about this book. When I think back about that scene, or other scenes, and especially the ending (oh my gosh, the wedding scene is so awesome!), I feel like I'm remembering something I experienced. And not just something I experienced --how to say this?-- something I experienced on a perfect day when everything was going right, and I didn't have a worry or a care, and I was just... happy.

This kind of thing -- where I come up from a reading like I'm coming up from underwater and feel like I've literally been transported to another place, where I can't even remember reading or turning the pages -- this has not happened to me that many times before in my life. One was upon first reading "The Lord of the Rings". This was long ago when I was a younger man, and more impressionable.

The final pages of this book -- the wedding at Cana, in the context of all that preceded it, have got to be some of the most sublime pages I've ever read. Quite literally, it was like a glimpse into heaven. With "Out of Egypt" I was moved to tears a couple times. With this, I was moved to awe and wonder and delight. I don't know how else to say it. When the last page came I just layed back for a while and felt like I was floating in a kind of spiritual high.

This book took me somewhere. I came away from reading feeling like I had to brush the dust of Nazareth off my shirt. Like I'd been breathing some kind of rarified air, and needed to stop reading for a while just to properly take it in. This one made me think.

I still think these would make great films, but now I wonder whether there's a producer in Hollywood who could do them justice. In "Out of Egypt" the meaning and metaphor was out there on the surface, easy to see. This one just feels so personal to me. Maybe this sounds strange, but I don't know if anyone else in the world will experience this story the way I did. Like, it somehow ties in with my own story -- my struggles and spiritual journey and hopes and fears and all.

I don't know what else I can say. I'm not sure if Ms. Rice plans another in this series. It's hard to see where she'd take it without it becoming "The Gospel According to Anne Rice", and I'm not sure if she wants to do that. Maybe she will, I don't know. If she does, I'll pick it up the moment it appears on the bookstore shelves.


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