This story of Jesus’s childhood best friend is “a thrilling meta-novel” and one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of the Year (Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette).
Like most successful men in their early thirties, Lazarus has plans that don’t involve dying. He is busy organizing his sisters, his business, and his women. Life is mostly good until far away in Galilee, without warning, his childhood best friend, Jesus, turns water into wine. Immediately, Lazarus falls ill. And with each subsequent miracle his health deteriorates: a nasty cough develops into an alarming array of afflictions unresponsive to the usual remedies.
His sisters think Jesus can help, but the two men haven’t spoken for years. Lazarus is willing to try anything to make himself well, anything, that is, except ask Jesus for help. Lazarus dies. Jesus weeps. Lazarus rises. This part we all know. But Lazarus is about to discover that returning from the dead isn’t easy at all . . .
An ingeniously funny and moving novel disguised as biography, Lazarus Is Dead recounts the story of a great friendship lost and regained that unabashedly turns convention on its head. Richard Beard draws on biblical sources, historical detail, art, and contemporary literature to cast a spell that remains unbroken until the final pages of this story about second chances.
“Beard’s take on Lazarus is nothing less than astonishing—and he respects the reader by taking religion and religious questions seriously.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Thoroughly entertaining . . . a brilliant, genre-bending retelling and subversion of one of the oldest, most sensational stories in the western canon.” —Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
“Clever and original . . . keeps the reader guessing until the death—and beyond.” —The Financial Times