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Morley Callaghan.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1983.
247pp, cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9772-X.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by C. H. Mountford.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

This is a remarkably good novel from a superb writer, and the fact should be shouted from the rooftops. It is good because it tells an entertaining, fast-moving story and at the same time deals with important and serious themes.

The novel offers an interesting conjecture about Judas Iscariot: that he is actually the most blessed of men instead of being the most cursed because he was deliberately chosen by Christ to betray him. All of the resonance of the story springs from this basic situation.

It is not a straightforward historical account of the situation. Instead, what we have is the ancient device of the story within a story. A manuscript is discovered in modern times in an old Greek vase. The author of the manuscript is Philo of Crete, and it is he who narrates what he knows of Christ's betrayal. Therefore, we do not meet the central characters, Christ and Judas, directly. Instead, Philo tells us what he knows of them. This device, while it distances us from the events, gives a certain validity to them, if we are willing to accept Philo's version of the matter.

In any case, all of the stories, the modern one, the story of Philo and the story of Christ's betrayal are told in such a way that they hold our interest at all times. This novel is suitable for senior students in secondary school and for adult readers.

C. H. Mounfford, F .E. Madill S. S., Wingham, ON.
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