The Gospel According to Lazarus
Coming April 2019
** Number 1 International Bestseller **
** Best Novel of 2016 FNAC Bookstores (22 shops in Portugal) **
** 3rd Most Popular Novel of 2016 – Bertrand Bookstores (51 shops in Portugal) **
“The most remarkable aspect of this brave and engaging novel, though, is that Zimler manages to make the best-known narrative in western culture a page-turner. I simply had to keep going to the very end in order to know on earth what would happen.” — The Guardian
‘A novel rich in detail and perception and grounded in the sensual compulsions of life… In its intrigue, passion and trauma, (it has) the aspects of a biblical thriller’. - The Jewish Chronicle
From the internationally best-selling author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon comes a dazzling new work of historical fiction, telling the story of the Passion from the point of view of Lazarus.
In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus resurrected a beloved friend named Lazarus. And yet, nowhere in the Gospel of John – which tells this story – is there any mention of how Jesus created this miracle or if he had any special reason for doing so. In The Gospel According to Lazarus, Zimler explores these questions while narrating the tale of Lazarus from his own point of view.
The story begins with Lazarus awakening in his tomb, unsure of where he is and disoriented. Worst of all, his faith has been shattered because he remembers nothing of an afterlife. Fragile and vulnerable – caught between life and death – he turns to Jesus for help, and the two men embark on a new phase of their long friendship.
In compelling flashbacks, we learn of Lazarus’ first meeting with Jesus – during their boyhood in Nazareth – and discover how he came to earn his friend’s trust and gratitude. Back in the present time – during Passion Week – Jesus tells him, however, that their meeting as young boys was no accident and offers an astonishing explanation for why he, Jesus, brought them together.
After Jesus’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Lazarus concludes that his whole life may have been a test for this chance to save his beloved friend from crucifixion. Only many years later, however – after Lazarus has been forced to flee Jerusalem – does he begin to understand the true role that he played in Jesus’ life. And he begins to believe that he might still be able to help his old friend by voicing his unique perspective on the religious and mystical movement that became known as Christianity.
And so it is that he reaches a terrible dilemma: Should he remain safe in his remote refuge or risk his life and return home to try to accomplish the mission Jesus’ very likely intended for him?
To write The Gospel According to Lazarus, Zimler researched daily life in the Holy Land at the time of the Roman Empire and paid special attention to ancient Jewish mystical traditions – the traditions that gave rise to charismatic healers and preachers like Jesus. Indeed, one of his objectives was to restore to Jesus and Lazarus their Judaism. And so, in this compelling and historically accurate work of fiction, Jesus is known by his Hebrew name, Yeshua ben Yosef, and Lazarus is referred to as Eliezer ben Natan.
“The best thing about this book is the same about all Zimler's books: the writing. There are beautifully written passages and that's where we can see he has a talent for saying things in the best way.” Full Review at A Reader Diary
“Unsurpassable in literary quality – an absolute must-read!”
–Casa das Letras
“By challenging prejudices and canons, Richard Zimler gives us a reinterpretation of the Bible and the ancient history of the Holy Land that is both brave and powerful!”
–Jornal das Letras
“A powerful testament to friendship and love, and one of the best novels of 2016 . . . The descriptions of the Holy Land find their perfect counterpoint in the extraordinarily moving relationship between the two biblical figures.”
–Jornal de Notícias
“An absolutely unique novel in which Zimler masterfully creates a world influenced by dreams and myths, alternating scenes of darkness with others of wondrous luminosity!”
“Provocative and daring, with the pace of a thriller . . . Skilfully narrated and very impressive.”
“While exploring the mysteries contained in the gospels, Zimler has rediscovered the historical and spiritual significance of Jesus and Lazarus. His sophisticated narrative is profoundly human and invested with astonishing poetical force.”
–Correio Brasiliense (Brazil)
“This passionate novel – written with Zimler’s singular voice – is certain to profoundly touch many readers and greatly disturb others.”
–Diário Digital (Portugal)
“Provocative and daring, with the pace of a thriller… Skillfully narrated and very impressive.”
“Important and extremely moving. The best novel published in 2016!”
–University of Minho Radio (Portugal)