Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: Iscariot (2013)

Iscariot. Tosca Lee. 2013. Howard Books. 336 pages.

I must admit I had my doubts about the novel Iscariot. I would have doubts about any novel focusing on Judas Iscariot making him a an easy to relate to, sympathetic character. But. The writing really was so beautiful in places, and the author's storytelling, for the most part, worked really well. She made an effort to give fullness to Judas' whole life, not just his few years spent following the Messiah, but for better or worse his life experience. What circumstances and situations impacted Judas' character? What events shaped and molded him into the man he was, the man he would become? While this is a FICTION novel, I thought it did a good job of establishing the fact that he was a real person, that he would have been bringing all of his life experiences with him as he became a disciple. The fictional Judas of this novel was oh-so-human, oh-so-broken; a man who truly desperately NEEDED Jesus to be THE Messiah right then, right there. Judas' faith in God was not questioned in this novel, nor his spirituality. So in many ways I found Iscariot to be a captivating read. If one clearly keeps in mind that this is fiction, the work of an imagination to bring Judas to life for modern readers, then this is well worth reading. What the Bible says about Judas is the inspired Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. So it is perhaps important to keep what the Bible actually says about the betrayal in mind as you read.

I am glad I read this one. It was my first introduction to Tosca Lee's writing. And I definitely enjoyed her storytelling and her writing even if at times the story was dark and uncomfortable. (I would rather the passion story remain always uncomfortable than to become hardened to the atrocities and realities of the atonement.)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Susanne said...

I just read this before Easter and, like you, had doubts and almost felt funny starting it. But I was curious as to the approach the author would take as to why Judas would have done what he did. I really liked the historical aspect to the story and finished it with a much better understanding of the "politics" of the time. Good review.