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"None Shines More Brightly"

A vividly accessible dramatization of the well-known Gospel stories of Jesus’ early years.

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A novel focuses on the childhood and youth of Jesus.

This new work by Fuja (a follow-up to his 2014 debut novel, Favored) takes up the familiar story of the boyhood of Jesus of Nazareth, from the Bethlehem cave of his birth to his entry into his public ministry and the recruitment of his disciples. But the bulk of this volume centers on Jesus’ boyhood, situating him in the middle of a warm and extended family: not just his parents, but also his grandparents and cousins such as Mary’s kinswoman Elizabeth; her husband, Zechariah; and their son John, who will grow up to become John the Baptist. In this version of the Bible story, Joseph is 19 and Mary 15 when Jesus is born. Three Persian wise men—Balthazar, Kaspar, and Melchior—visit the cozy family. Meanwhile, the whole of Judea suffers under the tyranny of the murderous King Herod the Great. As the affable Joseph makes friends everywhere (including the Roman centurion Gaius Longinus, who will intersect with the life of Jesus in later years), the narrative fleshes out the Gospel stories. Young “Yeshua,” raised and loved by his parents, plays with his cousin John. Fuja presents all of this in a refreshingly modern-sounding idiom; for instance, at one point the grandmother of young John confesses, “I hate to say this, but I think my grandson is goofy.” Juxtaposed with this warm familial setting are long and fascinating sections on the hateful sons of Herod the Great, who scheme and plot against each other upon their father’s death. The crown goes to the vile Archelaus, whose brother Herod Antipas is at first grateful to be allowed to live. Antipas’ wife, the demonic Herodias (in a wonderful detail, readers are told she attended “clandestine gatherings of idol worshipers in the high places”), feels less satisfied with her lot, and the dramatic payoff of the book involves her evil scheming. Fuja blends all these elements into a contemporary-feeling narrative that grows stronger as it progresses.

A vividly accessible dramatization of the well-known Gospel stories of Jesus’ early years.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5144-3831-2

Page Count: 348

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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