What would happen if the Messiah was a woman, and not the man people have always taken her to be? What if she showed up in rural America, instead of riding triumphantly into Jerusalem? If she preached moral license, not repentance?
All of that does happen, and more, in this startlingly original, mischievous and penetrating novel by David Homel.
In Homel’s tale of theology and erotics, Nathan Gazarra, a Hebew peddler, travels the backroads, from town to town, among tobacco-growers, mystics and illiterates, selling notions and sundries. While he’s at it, Gazarra mixes in a little preaching, because he has a secret, burning wish: to be the one to discover the Messiah in this most unlikely of places.
When he meets up with Sabbitha Hunter, a woman of disturbing beauty on the run from her home town, he decides to make her his Chosen One. Sabbitha takes the mantle of the Messiah, because with it comes the kind of power she had always dreamed of. When she invites the townsfolk and country people to follow her into heroic sinning, all hell breaks loose.
But it takes a lot of energy and imagination to sin and keep on sinning. And when Sabbitha’s followers start getting rough, even the Messiah’s life will be in danger.
David Homel has created an irreverent, earthy, astonishing story, full of insight into the nature of evil?and love.
About the author
David Homel has translated over 30 books, many by Quebec authors. He won the Governor General's Literary Award in translation in 1995 for Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex? by Dany Laferrière; his translation of Laferrière's How to Make Love to a Negro was nominated in 1988; and he won the prize in 2001 with fellow translator Fred A. Reed for Fairy Wing. His novels, which include Sonya & Jack, Electrical Storms, and The Speaking Cure have been published in several languages. Homel lives in Montreal, Quebec.