20 November 2013

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin


The Detachment of Mary

This is what I would call this book. Whether it was a history, misery or pure fiction, the book did not leave a mark on me. Mary, the mother, narrates the events the way they transpired from her viewpoint. The narrator aka Mary seemed so detached to the subject that I hardly felt the pain that would come naturally from such events.

She talks about the subject like a neigbour would. She does mention his birth and some childhood but hardly anything about his growing up and becoming a man and that too in a way by someone who hardly knew the subject and met him after many years probably like a distant relative. The actual crucuification was the key event, but there also she hides and watches from corners. All through the book I kept saying, for Gods sake you are a mother - show some emotions. A tear or two will not be over the top.

She does show some concern on how to protect her son, but there also her own safety became primary as she made her way out mostly. To get out before the boat sank, like the rats do. I am not sure if a mother could be so detached, unless the son has been mean and cruel to her. But here was an ideal son, so I found it weird why she doesn't cry, howl or beat her chest and curse those who did it.

The part I liked was her skeptical point of view on the story of various miracles as if they were talking about someone else and not her son. This is the part which seemed represented well, because this could be a way it could have happened. The evolution of a story from an incident to a miracle by word of mouth.

The other part I liked is when she mentions that after watching a sort of cruely you get a taste of it and she almost felt an urge to watch someone fall and die. This was a very sharp observation by the author.

I am not sure if author was trying to show Mary's view point or any ordinary witness. Because I just can't believe if a mother could be so detached. I just feel he could have used anyone instead of her. To chose a mother to talk about her son's death is a big responsibility and you can't take it so lightly or so practically. I believe its bigger than any religion or any God.


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