Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Failure of Crace’s Quarantine :: Quarantine Essays

 The Failure of Craces Quarantine          Quarantine is the latest sequence in a sub-genre of literature where the central conceit is to tell a story from the point of view of the minor characters in a noteworthy tale, with the more renowned stars of the originals taking in subordinate roles.  Quarantine he tells the story of Christs forty days in the wilderness, but with Jesus shunted to the periphery, in favor of several other pilgrims.  In particular, the novel focuses on a trader, Musa--dishonest, loutish, and brutal--whom Jesus almost incidentally brings back to life from an apparently inglorious illness.  In turn it is only Musa, despicable as he is, who realizes that thither is something extraordinary about this young man from Galillee. The novel is only partially successful, in large measure because this structural technique falls flat.  speckle Crace succeeds brilliantly in evoking the harsh atmosphere in which t he quarantine takes place, the recital comes to a screeching halt whenever Jesus is ab displace.  Musa is simply as well as unpleasant a character for us to care what happens to him and none of the others in truth grab our attention.  Nor can their stories hope to compete with the action we know to be taking place away from center stage. Craces demystification of Jesus is not really effective either.  On the one hand he portrays Jesus as merely an overly pious youth, estranged from his family because of his bizarre behavior, and says of those who undertake this resign ordeal     This was the season of the lunatics the first new moon of spring was evocation those men--for     lunatics are mostly men.  They have the time and opportunity--to exorcize that part of them which     direct them mad.  wild with grief, that is. Or shame.  Or love.  Or illness and visions.  Mad decorous to     think tha t everything they did, no matter how vain or trivial, was of interest to their god.  Mad     enough to think that forty days of discomfort could put their human race in order. The fact that Musa turns out to be such an mismatched candidate for resurrection, defrauding his fellow travelers and finally even raping one young woman, is plausibly intended to be an ironic comment on the nature of miracles.  And the torments sent by Satan to test Jesus are revealed to be vigour but petty annoyances foisted upon him by Musa.

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