cover image The Kingdom

The Kingdom

Emmanuel Carrère, trans. from the French by John Lambert. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-374-18430-8

The latest from Carrère (Limonov) is a tale of modern and ancient Christianity, filtered through a text that’s equal parts memoir, academic essay, and fictional exploration. Starting first with the author’s brief, intense relationship with religion in the early 1990s, the book follows Carrère’s path as he eventually finds fault with his faith. From here, he turns back the clock to parse out the lives of early Christian evangelists, particularly Paul and Luke, starting in 50 CE. Combining scholarship, biblical reference, and imagination, Carrère brings the exploits of these men, working to spread the story of Jesus to the masses while being persecuted and challenged by detractors, to life. The author approaches every moment with the mind of a skeptical storyteller, plugging in personal theories about the identities of the authors behind biblical letters and gospels and questioning the validity of the many miracles Jesus is said to have performed. Jumping back and forth through time—at one point, talk of the Virgin Mary leads to a tangent on Internet porn—results in a frequently fascinating book written by a curious, sharp mind. (Mar.)