The Book of Rachael

Leslie Cannold. Text Publishing (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-921922-04-6
If Jesus had a sister, what might have her story been? Australian Cannold (The Abortion Myth) turns her attention to an obscure corner of history: the role of women in patriarchal Roman society and Jewish culture during the early years of Christianity. Foreshadowing Jesus's anti-establishment views, Cannold imagines that he has a sister, Rachael, a tomboy who tries to defy social restrictions on women. Readers accompany her through her successes and failures navigating the patriarchal world that seeks to define her as a wife and mother. Cannold develops Rachael as a well-rounded, independent, and morally complex character who is not solely defined by her relationships with men. Even though the second half of the story revolves around her brother Jesus (as Joshua) and her husband Judah (as Judas), Rachael remains the focal point of the familiar story as it plays out. Rachael's tragedy is not merely the fact that her brother was martyred and that her husband the Messiah's traitor, but also that she was not allowed to be what she wanted to be. Cannold offers a thought-provoking, heartfelt, and tragic but redemptive tale about the difficulties of discovering and defining one's identity in a world that seeks unendingly to take that decision away. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/18/2013
Release date: 12/01/2013
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-921758-08-9
Ebook - 365 pages - 978-1-921834-23-3
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