ANGIE ON FICTION
Did Jesus have a wife? We’ve never heard of her before, but does that really mean she didn’t exist? “The Book of Longing” is a fictional account of Jesus’ wife, Ana, providing an innovative perspective to a story we all know so well.
Before you balk at the potential blasphemy, see if you can suspend your faithful beliefs long enough to devour this story. Kidd is a masterful storyteller, weaving familiar names and stories from the Bible throughout Ana’s tale, bringing Biblical times to life in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I could hear the bleating goats, smell the burning fires, see the magnificent script from reed pen on scrolls.
As author Sue Monk Kidd acknowledges in her author‘s note, “Centuries of tradition insisted Jesus was unmarried, and that position had long been codified into Christian belief and embedded in the collective mind.” And while it might be hard for some to fathom the likelihood of Jesus having a wife, Kidd says she felt it important to “imagine a married Jesus,” and the effect a woman might have had.
For those willing to enter Kidd’s imagination, the reward is great. You will meet Ana, a strong and stubborn woman who dreams of the freedom to one day write and tell the stories of women. After barely escaping her pre-arranged marriage to a much older widow, you will see Ana conspire to cross paths with a handsome, prayerful worker she had chanced to encounter at the market. You will meet Jesus, then just a young man with a premonition that he might be called to something great. You will see them fall in love and experience the hardships of life. You will see Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice through the eyes of the women who loved him, and you might never look at that great sacrifice quite the same again.