Philip Pullman: The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ (2010, Canongate, Distributed by Publishers Group West) 3 stars

Pullman reimagines the life of Jesus in this fiercely subversive retelling of the most influential …

Review of 'The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

What Pullman tries to do (and very largely succeeds, from my point of view) is both celebrate the life of a man who tried to do some actual good and condemn the willful misuse and misinterpretation of his words to better control the masses. As Christ witnesses through his own actions the inevitable corruption that infects any political hierarchy, he begins to doubt his very belief in what he has so long argued for:

"The body of the faithful, the church, as [the stranger:] calls it, will do every kind of good, I hope so, I believe so, I must believe so, and yet I fear it'll do terrible things as well in its zeal and self-righteousness...Under it's authority, Jesus will be distorted and lied about and compromised and betrayed over and over again."

That's a little on the nose, but we are talking parables here, hardly the most subtle form of allegory around. The entire novel is presented in a similar tone, simple yet laden with meaning, not an easy effect that Pullman somehow pulls off.

Read the rest of the review here.