The Damascus Road

Jay Parini. Doubleday, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-52278-6
Parini’s fantastic latest (after Empire of Self) recounts the journeys of Paul of Tarsus as told from the apostle’s own perspective and that of his traveling companion, Luke, the Gospel’s author. A deeply intelligent and observant Jew determined to fight the burgeoning “Way of Jesus,” Paul transforms into an advocate for the Christ after a life-changing vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Parini details Paul’s clashes with Jesus’s brother James and the apostle Peter, his fraught travels from Jerusalem to Athens to Rome, his continuous struggles with the thorn in his flesh, and Luke’s unflagging efforts to compile an accurate account of Christ’s life. Chapters alternate between Luke and Paul’s perspectives, and in Paul’s chapters his boyhood enthusiasm for pondering the unknown (which continues throughout his life) are rendered as vivid explorations on the nature of divinity, spirituality, and conversion. Paul’s idealistic, often hyperbolized perspective pairs wonderfully with the observations of the more pragmatic but no less faithful Luke. Parini has produced a stellar novel that humanizes the Christian message and its messengers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/22/2019
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-307-38620-5
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