The Book of Longings

The Book of Longings

Book - 2020
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In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in her furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything. Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history
Publisher: New York : Viking, ♭2020.
ISBN: 9780525429760
Characteristics: 418 pages :,maps ;,25 cm


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An inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her.

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Jan 13, 2021

I don't feel right giving this book a star rating, as I ended up DNF'ing it. However, I did get to the 82% mark, so I feel that I can speak on what exactly made me quit reading. I would like to say that the first part of the novel, which follows our protagonist, Ana, as she grows up in her parents' home and navigates an arranged marriage and advances from Herod, was interesting. I enjoyed reading about how she felt oppressed and just wanted to become a scribe, not a wife. However, the entire premise being that she is Jesus's wife felt more like a marketing ploy to hook readers into the book rather than an actual important plot point. Jesus spent most of his time off the page and many times "appeared" only when Ana was lamenting being separated from him for one reason or another (Jesus works away from home a lot, one of them must run to Alexandria or risk being arrested, etc.). This isn't necessarily what I had a problem with. What really irked me was that Ana became more irritating as the story went on. Even when she realized she was being selfish asking other characters for things, she still did those things, and for some reason the other characters went along with Ana's requests, even when there wasn't a solid relationship built between the two. Everything was a little too convenient for Ana, even as she was dealing with hardships.

Jan 12, 2021

A tepid attempt to fictionalize what has been suggested in many books (The Lost Gospel and Veritas) to name two, about Jesus having taken a wife. Did he? I doubt we will ever know given how scripture has been translated, retranslated, lost and found, etc over the centuries. It wouldn’t take a great leap of faith to believe it if he did. After all he was a rigidly devout Jewish man. It (marriage) was required by biblical law to do so. I did not finish this book not because I found it offensive or blasphemous, it wasn’t at all in my opinion. I just thought it was poorly written. I guess the greatest story ever told should be left well enough alone.

Dec 18, 2020

I loved this story and the writing is beautiful making it even more of a pleasure to read. I loved the idea of Jesus being married and who she might be and why history might have erased her. Sue Monk Lidd knows how to tell a good story of fiction based on extensive research. I highly recommend this.

Dec 12, 2020

A compelling and interesting historical fiction about an imagined wife of Jesus Christ named Ana. Be warned that this is decidedly Ana's story, not Jesus'; he is a secondary character. I think Kidd's greatest achievement in this novel is how evocative it is of its place and time - the Israel of Jesus' time is rendered with such skill and detail that I felt the heat and heard the sounds of the city. I don't want to stray into spoiler territory so suffice to say that this would be an excellent book club selection - Kidd's choices of what story to tell and how to fashion the character of Ana are fertile grounds for discussion.

Nov 21, 2020

This review keeps faulting as I try to write my forth attempt so I'll just say congratulations Monk Kidd on a bold tale that spralls land and time. 4.1/5

Nov 14, 2020

Stunning read!

Kidd takes readers on a trip to the time of Jesus, and introduces readers to Ana.
At a young age, she it betrothed to a rotund and much older friend of her father. Later, Ana rejects the advances of a powerful man and her family pays for this "disgrace."

After giving up her comfort to follow her love, Jesus, Ana confronts the choices she must make in order to live as Jesus' wife.

Ana's voice will not be buried, not even when what she fears most becomes reality...

Oct 06, 2020

I gobbled this book up in a couple of sittings because Sue's skillful Writing is so delicious I simply couldn't stop reading! An intriguing reenvisioning of Jesus' Life and although I personally feel that Mary Magdalene was his wife and therefore, thought I might be disappointed in this different vision. The in-depth research, nuanced, and thrilling Storytelling of this vibrant tale allowed me to see the possibility. Like most of us, I've read & seen the crucifixion myriad times; however, this one was so well articulated it penetrated me in a forceful and utterly heartbreaking manner, leaving me with heavily leaking eyes -:) This is an Author who is exhibiting her flourishing mastery with each new book.

Sep 29, 2020

Honestly I was not impressed by this novel. The premise of Jesus having a wife was intriguing but the story line read like a romance novel of characters too good to be true. No selfish motives, except for Ana, but she would quickly turn it around. And as for her being a modern woman with a desire for equal rights? This woman would have been stoned by her family for the disgrace of her actions. No accounting for centuries of cultural practices. A woman then would not have even known to dream of independence. I was disappointed. Although, judging by how many want to read this, i am in the minority

ArapahoeAshleyR Sep 09, 2020

History is written by the victors and, in most cases, by men. Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of historical Jesus from the perspective of his fictional wife Ana. I didn't expect this book to own my heart, but it completely did.

IndyPL_LindsayH Aug 26, 2020

Sue Monk Kidd is a masterful storyteller! The Book of Longings is a new subject matter for her, in that it mixes religion with fiction. I was not sure if I would like it because I am not a very religious person, but she does an excellent job telling Ana`s story.

Ana, in the story, was married to Jesus. There is not\ mention of her in any of the scriptures, but the story is believable to the reader. Ana is a strong, intelligent woman, who fights for her own and her families rights. Her relationship with Jesus is strong, but distant since he places his mission as the prophet first. She spends most of her time longing for him and for a better life for women.

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