After trying his hand at other stories from the Bible (The Book of God, Paul), National Book Award-winner Walter Wangerin Jr. turns his talents to the most familiar story of all: that of Jesus.

A Novel

Walter Wangerin Jr.
400 pp.; $21.99

Wangerin's earthy sensuality lends richness and vibrancy to scenes such as the wedding feast at Cana. Using alternating viewpoints (John and Mary), he primarily sticks to Scripture, but the novel's strongest moments come when he fills in gaps (although still maintaining orthodoxy). Especially poignant is a chapter where a confused Mary ("Mim") stands vigil, contemplating the future, while an exhausted, adult Jesus ("Yeshi") sleeps with his head in her lap.

The writing is beautifully crafted, although some of the slang dialogue may jolt unsuspecting readers out of the narrative. ("Ach! Sister, you've been snookered. Nothing good ever came from Nazareth.") The enthusiasm Wangerin brings to this beloved story is contagious, and the historical and cultural details he employs (especially about food and fishing) enrich the text.

Related Elsewhere:

Jesus: A Novel is available from and other book retailers.

More information is available from Zondervan.

More about Walter Wangerin, including an excerpt from Jesus, is available from his website.

Christianity Todayinterviewed Wangerin about his book Saint Julian.

Wangerin's articles for CT include:

Small Beneath the Firmament | For my father-in-law, his place in the order of Creation was no diminishment, but the beginning of wisdom. (March 2, 2001)
Maundy Thursday | Part one of "The Great Reversal," a CT Classic article (April 20, 2000)

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.