“Lazarus is Dead” by Richard Beard is fantastically written – it recounts the story of Lazarus and his resurrection on three different levels and that is what makes the book so good – in terms of plot and the writing style. I had to say this as soon as I began the review because I loved the way Beard has made sense of the plot. It isn’t easy to write a book of such stature (in terms of the storyline), however Beard makes it seem so effortless. His words flow and do not stop and at one point as a reader, I was wondering that why is it coming to end at all.
Like I have mentioned, the book is about Lazarus. How he came to be Jesus’ friend, his life, how he died and what happened to him after the resurrection. The plot is unusual in the sense that no one has ever ventured down the road – charting for the reader the connection between the two friends and what role does Lazarus have to play or for that matter what do the testaments say and perceive.
The way the book is also written is rather unique. The chapters count downwards and upwards from seven – referring to the seven miracles as performed by Jesus (Lazarus’s raising is the seventh). Beard very cleverly also intersperses the book with details from other books (of course due credit is given), anecdotes, quotes and parables as well, which only propel the story in an enchanting manner.
Jesus’ crucifixion is also brutally described because it is needed for the story. You will feel slightly out of sorts after reading this portion, but it is needed. At the same time, what I loved about the book was that Beard makes us question the larger topics: Death, Life and Friendship. To me, with every turn of the page, that is the highlight of the book, besides the vivid imagination of the writer and how he has used it to his advantage to a hundred percent to add to the beauty of the book.
If you want to know more about Jesus and Lazarus and at the same time, want to read something different, something which is part true (maybe) and definitely part fiction, then this is the book for you.