Tóibín's fictive mothers have always been complex characters. Now comes Mary, the mother of Christ, in this novella based on the stage play, Testament.
Taut poetic language cuts to the heart of her emotional devastation as she gives her account of his life, her adult estrangement from him and finally his death ("I gasped when I saw the cross... He was the boy I had given birth to...").
She is less the archetypal Christian Mother, more an angry woman forever in mourning and her enduring sadness is deeply moving.