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Damascus

Narrated by: Saul Reichlin
Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

Non-member price: $53.17

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book

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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.