The Testament of Mary

Written by:
Colm Toibin
Narrated by:
Meryl Streep

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2013
3 hours 8 minutes
2014 Audie Award Finalist for Audiobook of the Year, Literary Fiction, and Solo Narration—Female!

“Tóibín is at his lyrical best in this beautiful and daring work” (The New York Times Book Review) that portrays Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity—shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel, who are her keepers. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was “worth it”; nor that the “group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye,” were holy disciples.

Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the cross until her son died—she fled, to save herself), and her judgment of others is equally harsh. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Tóibín’s tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.
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Rea B.

Normally, I adore a Meryl Streep performance, but this seemed mannered, with all those characteristic half-thrown lines and expectedly unexpected emphasis. I suppose I prefer to be read to instead of acted upon.

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Thomas N.

I listened to this unique and creative recreation of Mary and Jesus and his disciples unfolding in an untraditional way. I listened to it over Good Fri, Holy Sat and Easter Sun since covid 19 had me staying home; frankly,I don’t find our rituals and ceremonies prayerful, so I was eager to give Toibin/Streep a try. Outstanding reaction on my part. I I can’t imagine reading the book would’ve kept me engaged beyond ten minute...I bet I’d have put it aside permanently. But Meryl Streep brought warmth and juice to Toibin’s masterpiece, and they fed my soul. I’m grateful. If you’re kind of updated on the history and development of Christianity and To a lesser degree, Catholic piety, Toibin’s take meshes very well with it all. There’s nothing to be afraid of here. Or angry about. Superbly thought out and written, elegantly narrated. Thank you all.

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Ruth M

I am a devotee of Mary. As the book unfolded, l became more and more caught up in the "might have been " aspect of this story. I certainly cannot explain my reaction to this unorthodox interpretation of Mary and her Holy Week experiences, but somehow l found my faith strengthened.

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A whole new perspective on Mary and the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. This is a fascinating and expertly written novel, but Meryl Streep's narration takes it to a whole new level. She's one of the best narrators I've ever heard.

The Testament of Mary
This title is due for release on September 10, 2013.

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