cover image Son of Man

Son of Man

Andrew Klavan. Permanent Press (NY), $18.95 (187pp) ISBN 978-0-932966-86-5

Klavan's imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of Jesus is a sporadically interesting failure. His Jesus is born naturally and promptly circumcised; he dislikes his bullying older brother, gets bored with the family workshop and discovers his true calling almost by accident. A restless man of wisdom, he spreads enlightenment by his presence. The Nazarene's story is narrated through alternating, quasi-apocryphal gospels that affect an almost Biblical diction. Jesus's inner turmoil, his doubts and visions are telegraphed through lyrical poems that don't mesh with the novelistic framework. Judas, a smooth-talking conniver, has ecstatic sex with Mary Magdalene; later he repents his lethal betrayal of his friend Jesus and commits suicide. Mary Magdalene's bawdy running monologue functions as a Greek chorus of sorts, strewn with four-letter words and Joycean erotic fantasies that seem merely gratuitous. Klavan is a novelist ( Darling Clementine ) and a mystery writer under the pseudonyms Keith Peterson and Margaret Tracy. (Dec.)