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Date: Sat, 10 May 2003 11:20:26 +0100 (BST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Nicholas=20Gevers?= 
Subject: (urth) Paul Park's new novel

Readers of Gene Wolfe have often expressed fondness
for the works of Paul Park; here's the publication
announcement for Park's latest novel, THREE MARYS,
which I've edited for Wildside Press. Available
through amazon, bn.com, www.wildsidepress.com, and
other online booksellers.

--Nick Gevers.


Wildside Press, 178 pages
ISBN: 1-58715-519-2

HC $29.95 

May 2003


In 1996 Paul Park published The Gospel of Corax, a
highly acclaimed rendering of a theosophist legend,
describing Jesus of Nazareth's journey to the Indian
subcontinent and Tibet. In Three Marys, his new novel,
Park returns to first-century Palestine to recreate
with penetrating insight the historical community of
Jesus, and to follow the first tangled strands of
Christianity after his death. Here is Jesus's world as
it very likely was, confused, conflicted, rife with
messianic rumor and factional ambition; here is the
brazen cruelty of Roman occupation and the domestic
oppression that mirrored it, seen through the eyes of
the women who knew Jesus best. 

This is the story not only of Christ but of the three
Marys who survived him and were true to him, each in
their own way. Their inner and outer narratives,
sometimes tortured, sometimes rhapsodic, make up the
spare but radiant tapestry of this novel. There is
Mary of Magdala, visionary and wandering, perhaps
Jeshua's wife; there is his mother Mary, tough,
charismatic, earthy, ultimately desolated by his loss;
and there is Mary of Bethany, the girl who followed
Jeshua in his last days and has to bear the burden of
her undying brother Lazarus for decades afterwards.
Outcasts because of their sex, yet possessors between
them of some fragmented sense of the true ineffable
nature of Christ the man and Christ the messiah, they
are presented with luminous tragic humanity and given
proper voice at last. 

Paul Park is one of contemporary American literature's
most subtle and original explorers of religious
experience. As exotic in coloring and as rich in
understanding as his superb science fantasy novels,
Three Marys is a masterpiece of historical and
spiritual reconstruction.


“Three Marys speaks with such eloquent and mesmerizing
authority concerning the early formative period of
Christianity, it seems that the novel is less an
astonishing recreation and re-estimation of those days
than the product of brilliant observation. Paul Park’s
body of work concerning Jesus and his milieu is unique
in American letters.”---Lucius Shepard, author of Life
During Wartime and Valentine

“To the short list of successful New Testament
extrapolations--a literature that includes Alain
Absire's Lazarus, José Saramago's The Gospel According
to Jesus Christ, and Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last
Temptation of Christ--I would now add Three
Marys.”---James Morrow, author of Only Begotten
Daughter and Blameless in Abaddon

“Paul Park has been, for far too many years, one of
the most unjustly unknown contemporary American
authors. Those who do know have long spread the word,
but ultimately, to know his work you must read the
word. Three Marys should, I believe, be the
novel--rich in incident, warm in characterization,
unforgettable in approach--that at last brings him the
wider attention he justly deserves.”---Jack Womack,
author of Terraplane and Going Going Gone 

“From the first moments, Paul Park's intense, always
precise language brings ancient stories to life
without ever cheapening them through a fake ‘realism’.
The gospel stories are well served in this vividly
imagined book.”---Rachel Pollack, author of
Unquenchable Fire and Godmother Night

“Like the canonical Gospels, this story's vibrant
tapestry is woven with threads of disappointed hopes,
blames and betrayals, and the yearnings of people
trapped by multiple oppressions. Unlike those Gospels,
it is told in women's voices, fresh out of the
maelstrom that might have immediately followed the
Crucifixion. Haunting, carnal, stunning, disturbing,
Three Marys imprints on the reader's imagination a
triptych of powerful women, not easily
forgotten.”---The Reverend Peter T. Elvin

“A compelling and iconoclastic narrative of the
formation of the early church told from the
perspective of the disempowered women who were at its
heart, Three Marys is a brilliant book, richly
imagined, beautifully written, and intellectually
stimulating. Like The Gospel of Corax, Park's new
novel artfully incorporates findings from the spate of
recent scholarship on the historical Jesus, and offers
a fascinating look at the processes through which
history is transformed into myth.”---Bradford Verter,
Professor of History and Religion, Bennington College

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