The Biblical Mary is pious and pure, obediently accepting her son’s—and her own— given roles in a divine plan. In the hands of master storyteller Colm Tóibín, however, Mary is not a beatific figure and the Gospels are not empirical history; instead, Mary is critical, judging her son’s followers as overeager loudmouths, mere “fools, twitchers, malcontents, stammerers.” She mocks them for believing in eternal life. She sees the “miracles” of the raising of Lazarus and the conversion of wine into water as base opportunism in a time of chaos and feverish hope. After her son’s crucifixion, when asked to narrate the events that will become the synoptic gospels, Mary is reticent and declares, “I can tell you now… It was not worth it.” Biblical retellings are almost as old as Christianity, but The Testament of Mary (Scribner, $19.99) infuses new urgency into a familiar story with its provocative portrait of the Madonna.

The Testament of Mary Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451688382
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - November 13th, 2012

The Testament of Mary: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451692389
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - February 4th, 2014

Amanda Hodgkinson’s powerful novel begins just after World War II as Janusz, a Pole determined to remake himself as an Englishman, awaits his family’s arrival at 22 Britannia Road (Penguin, $16). His wife and young son barely survived the conflict by hiding out in the forests of Poland, and their new home adds a cultural shock to their wartime traumas. As the three struggle to come to terms with the past, their vastly different experiences of the previous six years make life as a normal family almost impossible. Hodgkinson’s narrative poses a range of questions surrounding home and identity, including the confusion over one’s place in the world and in history.
22 Britannia Road: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143121046
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - April 24th, 2012

Alternating between the voices of its two main characters, Alice Mattison’s When We Argued All Night (Harper Perennial, $14.99) dramatizes the changes, fears, and aggression of 1930s New York City. Determined to make their mark on the world and on each other through Communism, marriage, or teaching, Artie Saltzman and Harold Abramovitz, friends since childhood, grow to understand how little they really know of the events surrounding them. Mattison tracks their lives through World War II, the McCarthy witch-hunts, and the tumultuous 1960s, when they relive their own youth through that of their children. But it’s one particular, personal incident that has the greatest and most enduring repercussions for the two men.
When We Argued All Night: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062120373
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Published: Harper Perennial - June 12th, 2012