Michael's Reviews > Barabbas

Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist
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's review
Oct 29, 2008

really liked it
Recommended to Michael by: goodreads
Recommended for: those eager for a little trip to hell
Read in November, 2008

This is one hauntingly memorable book; even the cover is creepy. I honestly think this short novel should be added to the more secular versions of the Bible.

Lagerkvist (who I'd never heard of before being on this site: thanks guys!) was a Nobel Prize winner and sometime writer of plays, novels, and pretty much everything else. His main subject, almost personified here in the figure of Barabbas, deals with Christian faith or lack thereof or striving for (I believe he was a lapsed Catholic, and the older he got the more lapsed he became).

Due to the Passover tradition of freeing one condemned man, Barabbas is excused from crucifixion and Jesus is executed in his stead. This one event, which is by no means Barabbas' fault, fills him with guilt and remorse, and for the remainder of the book he seeks alternately to affirm and deny the faith of the Christians then secretly sprouting up everywhere. In the end, Barabbas finds himself somewhere just before the beginning

_Barabbas_ is a minor epic of inner dread, filled with the logic and power of a nightmare.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Michael By the way, has anyone seen the 1961 film starring Anthony Quinn as Barabbas. I noticed somewhere that a movie reviewer said it put Ridley Scott to shame. I'm not sure what to make of that...

message 2: by Richard (new) - added it

Richard I saw the beginning of it once and now wish I'd watched the whole thing. It had many spectacular scenes including a gladiator fight. While they were shooting the crucifixion scene there was apparently a real eclipse of the sun (how weird is that!). And the musical score contained "electronic sounds," a technique which was really revolutionary for the time.

I think they sometimes air it on TV around Easter. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might catch it.

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