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Publisher's Summary

The stunningly powerful new novel from the author of The Slap.  

'They kill us, they crucify us, they throw us to beasts in the arena, they sew our lips together and watch us starve. They bugger children in front of fathers and violate men before the eyes of their wives. The temple priests flay us openly in the streets and the Judeans stone us. We are hunted everywhere and we are hunted by everyone. We are despised, yet we grow. We are tortured and crucified and yet we flourish. We are hated and still we multiply. Why is that? You must wonder, how is it we survive?'  

Christos Tsiolkas' stunning new novel Damascus is a work of soaring ambition and achievement, of immense power and epic scope, taking as its subject nothing less than events surrounding the birth and establishment of the Christian church. 

Based around the gospels and letters of St Paul, and focusing on characters one and two generations on from the death of Christ, as well as Paul (Saul) himself, Damascus nevertheless explores the themes that have always obsessed Tsiolkas as a writer: class, religion, masculinity, patriarchy, colonisation, refugees; the ways in which nations, societies, communities, families and individuals are united and divided - it's all here, the contemporary and urgent questions, perennial concerns made vivid and visceral.   

In Damascus, Tsiolkas has written a masterpiece of imagination and transformation: an historical novel of immense power and an unflinching dissection of doubt and faith, tyranny and revolution, and cruelty and sacrifice.

©2019 Christos Tsiolkas (P)2019 Bolinda Publishing

What listeners say about Damascus

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Not what I expected

I returned to this book as I was so taken aback by the first chapter I put the book on hold, but I kept going. I feel it is a story of such hardship for the first Christians of how brave they were to against what was deemed the norm. Well written and narrated, I was glad I persevered. I totally enjoyed the story.

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Not everyone’s cup of tea!

Brutally violent, Tsiolkas expands our understanding of the early Christians after death of Jesus. He says he has tried to ignore two thousand years of history to focus on what we can learn from Paul’s letters and teachings. I stuck it out, glad I did.

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Damascus

wow what a story, raw, well researched, spell binding, it kept me enthralled the whole way through!!

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Doesnt do well as an audiobook

I love reading, but macular degeneration has robbed me of this pleasure. My husband and i have always shared reading tastes, and he raved about this book was nd i couldnt wait to listen to my copy on Audible. Sadly, although its well performed, its a complicated book and unlike with visual reading, its not easy to reread a paragraph which one feels important enough to reread, or to remind oneself of a character. I didnt finish it, it was too much like hard work! I might give it another try later.

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Brilliant book

A great novel that is full of compassion, empathy, wisdom and insight. Thank you Christos Tsiolkas.

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blood and sex

the story opens with a bloody murder, then descends into pornography (with blood), occasionally mentions Jesus, then loops around into blood guts and gore......and really a whole chapter dedicated to circumcision urrrrghhhhhh

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A dirge

Characters you cant like or invest in described in humourlessly earnest and overwrought prose. I wanted to quit this book many times but it is redeemed by its outstanding world building. It gives a tangible feeling for what everyday life was like in another era, for their cultural norms and social hierarchy. You want to leave the turgid central characters behind and follow secondary and tertiary characters in the back alleys of Ephesus. Additionally it gives a real sense of how radical and outlandish and revolutionary Christianity was relative to the incumbent culture. The world building and overall subject of the book was enough to keep me in, but the characters and the overwrought tone made it a real grind. Also, the writer spends a LOT of time talking about dicks.

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  • SjG
  • 06-01-2021

narration/characterization is awful

the narration takes so much of the meaning from this book. it made it so hard to continue with it. the voices of the women in this book are awful caricatures, reducing the meaning of the words.

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