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Lazarus is Dead

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  240 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Brimming with wit and humor, Lazarus Is Dead transcends genres as it recounts the story of a great friendship lost and re-found.
In the gospels Jesus is described as having only one friend, and when this friend dies, Jesus does something that he does nowhere else in the Bible. He weeps. Novelist Richard Beard begins here. Mixing Biblical sources, historical detail, fascina
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Europa Editions (first published August 1st 2011)
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Richard Derus
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Phillip Edwards
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
At a gala performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, comedienne Victoria Wood was asked what she thought of the show. "It's very sad," she said, "he dies in the end you know."

Here, it is Jesus's friend Lazarus who dies, not at the end but in the middle. Then comes back to life again - thanks to his childhood friend. We are presented with episodes from the childhood of Lazarus and Jesus, speculations about those formative years together and the different paths their lives subsequently followed.
"Amo
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Rebecca Foster
In this peculiar novel-cum-biography, Beard attempts to piece together everything that has ever been said, written and thought about the biblical character of Lazarus. The best sections have Beard ferreting out the many diseases from which Lazarus may have been suffering, and imagining what his stench – both in life and in death – must have been like. (“He stinketh,” as the Book of John pithily puts it.)

Alongside these reasonable conjectures is a strange, invented backstory for Jesus and Lazarus
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Shawn
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is both entertaining and enlightening. The author has clearly done his research. The novel imagines the life of the biblical Lazarus, the man Jesus resurrected after he had been dead for four days. Richard Beard draws from scripture, historical accounts, and literary and artistic representations of Lazarus in order to fill in the gaps of what is missing from the records and draw conclusions. I hadn't previously been aware of just how pervasive the story of Lazarus has remained in art a ...more
Allison
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scott-douglas
One of the most unique books I have read in a long, long time.

Beard examines the story of Lazarus through a novel, inherently a work of fiction, yet he weaves historical asides throughout the book that paint an even more compelling, almost "convincing" picture of this man who was said to be Jesus' only friend. Lazarus is presented to us as both a character in a story and a man who was once alive on this earth, someone who is intimately knowable through Beard's imagination but also inherently unk
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Katie Mercer
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Full Disclosure: I won this as an ARC copy from the Goodreads giveaway. I was pretty excited to have won this one - generally I'm thrilled to win a book, but I really do love Europa as a publisher. No, they didn't tell me to say that. Yes, I actually really do think have favourite publishers. I'm a librarian guys.

Lazarus raising from the dead is the last, and arguably most famous of Jesus's public miracles resulting in two of the most famous Biblical quotes: "I am the resurrection and the life"
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Maya Panika
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Citing gospels, art, archaeology and Roman historians amongst other sources, Richard Beard attempts to get to the heart of who Lazarus really was, what his life might have been like, why he died, why he was brought back to life and what might have happened to him after the events described in John’s Gospel.

Written in an odd style, part novel, part history textbook ,that took me a while to get into, Lazarus is Dead is a most unusual and original book in very many ways. I’m wary of saying too much
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Alysa
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be very intriguing. We all (well, those of us raised in a Christian tradition) know the story of Lazarus, raised from the dead by Jesus, and his sisters, practical Martha and faithful Mary. But that story is not much more than a skeleton, missing a before, an after, and a lot if what's going on around it. That's what author Richard Beard tries to flesh out in this book, the story around Lazarus' resurrection.

Part historical fiction and part literary (and other arts!) review,
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Cheryl Gatling
Lazarus is Dead is one weird little book. You can tell this when you open it, and it starts at chapter 7. The chapters count down to zero, which is where Lazarus is raised from the dead, and then count back up again to 7. The basic story is the one from the Bible, and the author cites Biblical evidence to explain why he told it the way he did. He also cites every piece of literature that treats the Lazarus story, and I was surprised there were so many. Then he invents wildly. When Joseph and Mar ...more
John Pappas
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Europa Editions has done it again -- this time, presenting a here-to-fore unknown to me British author, writing an amazing, warm and funny imagining of the life and death (and life again) of Lazarus, friend of Jesus who, according to the Gospel of John, is raised from the dead. Uniquely structured, this "meta-novel" features a narrator who leaps through time discussing the work of many artists and writers captivated by Lazarus's story, including Carravaggio, Eliot, Saramago, Mailer and Kazantzak ...more
TinHouseBooks
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-we-love
Desiree Andrews (Assistant Editor, Tin House magazine): I picked up a copy of Lazarus Is Dead by Richard Beard because I’m always drawn to the bold and well-designed covers of Eruopa Editions. Compelled by the subversion of a bible story I knew only marginally well (despite having gone to church every Sunday of my youth) and the expert way in which cultural references, speculation, and pure fiction were laced together to form a biography of Lazarus, I tore through the book in two days. There’re ...more
Louise Jones
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: easy-read, comedy
i enjoyed this book and the kind of humour attached to it although not sure wot someone very religious would think !! if they were a humour bone !!! I must admit now u think about it what on earth did Lazarus do after he came back to life and obviously the bible cant mention everything but enjoyed the thoughts that came with this book was Jesus really proper mates with anyone and what do u do if brought back to life would value every millisecond be interested to see what other books Richard bea ...more
Marjolein
Full review to come!
Tenli
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dare I use the word miraculous to describe this unusual and brilliant so-called biography of the biblical Lazarus?
Jane-Susan
Sep 19, 2012 marked it as to-read
I won the book on Goodreads! Thanks.
Brad Jones
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a really interesting take on the Lazarus story: Lazarus as the victim of miracles. The style was interesting as well. It was sort of a pastiche of an account of Lazarus's life interspersed with biblical commentary and references to Lazarus in the popular imagination.

One that I'll be thinking about for a long time.
Phillip Edwards
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
At a gala performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, comedienne Victoria Wood was asked what she thought of the show. "It's very sad," she said, "he dies in the end you know."

Here it is Jesus's friend Lazarus who dies, not at the end but in the middle. Then comes back to life again, thanks to his childhood friend. We are presented with episodes from the childhood of Lazarus and Jesus, speculations about those formative years together and the different paths their lives subsequently followed.
"Among
...more
Rob Slaven
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Unsurprisingly, this book came to me free from a GoodReads drawing. Despite its free-ness, I'll give it my honest review below.

In many ways this book fails. It's not especially dramatic. It's certainly not funny and in almost every way not even very entertaining. Yet for some ineffable reason it did drag me along to the very end. The problem is that I just can't put my finger on why. I've read more than my share of really poor books and this isn't a poorly written book. On the contrary it's very
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Alex Nagler
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The word and the truth, the hope of life everlasting - Lazarus Christ.

This is a story of something most people already know, the story of the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus Christ at the start of the Holy Week. But that's not enough for Richard Beard. Lazarus, Jesus' named friend whose death moves him to weep, has a life before he winds up dead in that cave. So Beard seeks it out, using scripture, history, and immunology as his basis. This book details the life of Lazarus from birth to death
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Chad
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway-wins, owned
First off thank you very much to Penguin Canada, Goodreads and Richard Beard for my free advanced copy of this book. I love having the opportunity to read something before it even hits the shelves, it gives me a little thrill every time.

If you have read any of my reviews in the past I generally do not give spoilers or heavy analysis of the books I read but more of general impressions and feeling regarding the stories from an entertainment perspective.

Lazarus is Dead reads very much like a histor
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Sid Nuncius
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is partly an imaginative re-telling and embellishment of the story of Lazarus raised from the dead by Jesus, and partly a meticulously researched, highly speculative historical analysis of what that story means both in the context of Jesus's life and death and a philosophical discourse on its wider meaning for all of us. The book has lots of things about it that I like very much. It is extremely erudite, drawing on a huge range of cultural and historical sources for its ideas and analy ...more
Keith Currie
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story of the resurrection of Lazarus is one of the most famous of Jesus' miracles but it only appears in one gospel and is very light on detail. In this unusual novel the author explores the limits of possibility by adding into the mix other 'sources', paintings, novels, plays and poems from later centuries. He even posits a new research method, the power of imaginative reconstruction. Thus a pseudo biography of Lazarus is presented. The result is a piece of writing which pays more resemblan ...more
Katie Kenig
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Lazarus is Dead is a semi-fictional biographical account of the life of Lazarus, a key biblical figure in the New Testament.

I'm not sure what I expected of this book. I've always been curious about the life of Lazarus, and his story wasn't covered much (beyond him simply being one of Jesus' key miracles) in my 12 years of parochial school. This book offered insights gleaned from historical texts other than the bible, some questionable in origin, others clearly meant as fiction, and is filled in
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Sara Jones
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this book on a whim while browsing in a bookstore. The opening page on the history of Lazarus grabbed me completely, and I had to read it. The story of Lazarus might be one of the best known in the bible, but it is one that leads a lot of questions. Who is this man that Jesus loves enough to bring back from the dead? And, what happens to a man after that happens?

This is not a religious book, but it's also not exactly a piece of historical fiction. It probably also will not become your m
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Andrea
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, fiction
I won this book through the Goodreads First Read program.

I entered the giveaway because I was looking for something different and this book certainly qualified! In fact there were times I was sitting there, thinking that this tale was just completely bizarre, but in a good way.

Beard doesn't have much to work on, of the four book (John, Matthew, Mark and Luke) only John even mentions Lazarus, which perhaps asks more questions than it answers. Though on the other hand it leaves the author quite a
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Bonnie
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. I read it for my "book on the bottom of your TBR stack" challenge. I added it here at GoodReads on my virtual "To Be Read" list and I don't even remember how I found out about it or who may have recommended it to me. But I'm glad I had it on my list and finally got around to reading it. Lazarus is Dead is a fascinating mix of Biblical canon, the author's imagination, historical references, and other clues from writers, theologians, historians and artists. While ...more
Lou Gillies
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully crafted book and I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't a true story. It reads like an essay with a bibliography interwoven with passages of narrative throughout the entire text. The novel is a biography of a biblical character, and 'evidence' of how the character of Lazarus may have lived his life comes through paintings, films and other fictional accounts. Beard successfully puts flesh on the bones of a man who had little to say in the story of his resurrection i ...more
Lisa Katsiris
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I won "Lazarus is Dead" as an ARC on Goodreads.com. Other than my copy of LID I am not being paid or compensated for my review, for which I'm sure the publisher and author will glad as I can not give this book a favourable review.

The reviews available when I put my name in the draw said things like "As gripping as a thriller", "Suprising, spellbinding, witty...", "A thoroughly entertaining elaboration of Lazarus's miraculous life.".
Part of the book description said "An ingeniously funny and mov
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Colin Marks
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Beard at a recent writer's conference. He came across as intelligent and passionate about good writing, so I was curious to see whether his own writings hit the mark. And for me, the answer is a resounding "yes".

The book fictionalises the New Testament's Lazarus tale: the only person ever referred to as a friend of Jesus, and who was brought back from the dead just before the Crucifixion. I'm not at all religious, quite the opposite if fact, but this book p
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Ruth Dipple
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and thought-provoking (and provocative) book. The author seems to have ferreted out every known reference to Lazarus and woven them into a challenging narrative. The premise is that Lazarus had to die in order to be raised (John's Gospel) but clearly he had to die again some time after that.
Vicky Thomasson
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. I enjoy the history of Christianity and I enjoy a book that makes me think. However, the thing I enjoyed most about this book was how Richard Beard brought to life the characters of Lazarus and Jesus. The story created around Lazarus not only gave him a detailed account of his life, death and resurrection but it also made Jesus seem like a down to earth human being. A person who may have been the son of God but was also a little boy who played with ...more
Kevin
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
How to describe this book? I really liked Lazarus is Dead, I won it on a Goodreads giveaway. It was very thought-provoking (and though it is about a biblical character its not some cheesy evangelistically driven book). I thought Beard did a good job of writing a realistic Lazarus, and the way Lazarus interacts with Jesus is definitely intriguing. The book was also uniquely written, and it takes a bit to get into the flow of how Beard writes and intersects facts about Lazarus and how others have ...more
Carmen
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I don't know how to express how impressive this book is. Intelligent, inventive, funny and different is how I'd describe it. Richard Beard takes on the story of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead and draws a picture of a man who is Jesus' only real friend and who needs to die. Lazarus is not a particularly sympathetic character but is precisely what this story needs, a sort of anti-Christ. It is well written and thoughtfully put together, especially the quotes and themes he draws in from ot ...more
Mustafa
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
What I love about this book is that Beard doesn't deny the miracles of Christ, nor does he consider the given biblical figures as heroes of any sort. In fact, the whole novel is written in the calm, observant, and neutral tone you would expect in the narrative voice of a documentary. That, somehow, is what drew me in. It just so happened that I was reasonably familiar with the Lazarus tale, so ignorance wasn't always my incentive to read on. Lazarus Is Dead is clearly sourced and written with th ...more
Erik
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Full disclosure: I received a free copy from a Goodreads giveaway. And I am a huge fan of Europa Editions books and am evangelical about recommending many of them to serious readers. They are a wonderful antidote to a lot of mass trade publishing.

All that said, I fully admit I am not the ideal reader for this title. I wanted to give it a fair try and did, though my fundamental lack of knowledge about the Bible - or Biblical stories, for that matter - seemed to be too much of a wall for me to ove
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Olga
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant fictional biography of the Biblical Lazarus (the one who was brought back to life by Jesus after being dead for 4 days). Might as well be real, as all the speculations and assumptions are explained and sound quite plausible. The references to the literature, historical accounts or works of art related to Lazarus's life are interwoven into the narrative so naturally, as if Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot told the story of what actually happened by cleverly joining toge ...more
Cassandra
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Warnig:do not try to read the first half of this book with breakfast, or if you have a weak stomach! The descriptions of Lazarus' illnes are vivid and quite disturbing.

Beard presents an interesting concept:a biography of Lazarus, friend to Jesus and subject of one of his greatest miracles. I enjoyed the concept and followed along eagerly (though I knew how this story would end. Probably a book most enjoyable for those with some knowledge of the Bible, but who are willing to read an alternate vie
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Lily
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I won this book through Goodreads and thought it sounded quirky and fun. I wasn't wrong.

The novel? is about Lazarus, yes from the bible. The writing style was completely different from, well anything else which comes to mind. It is written something like a cross between an academic paper and memoir - which means you believe every word on the page. There are definitely laugh out loud moments - for those of us who enjoy this sort of tongue in cheek type of book.

It is what I would call lighter fare
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Michelle
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.

I had difficulty reading this book. I don't know if it's because I don't know that much about the Bible. I mean, I know the basic most well known Bible stories, I grew up going to church. But, I've never read the Bible, so to me I don't know which parts were actually meant to be funny, which were based on stories from the Bible or which were just plain 'ole made up. Overall, it's well written and has some great parts to it, but it wouldn't be the fi
...more
MRS D C GILES
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting take on the biblical story and how it has been interpreted.
Leah
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Inventive, fascinating 'creative nonfiction.'
Raibar Chener
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging

Interesting storytelling techniques that engage the reader from page one to the end. Fairly enjoyed it, felt like time travel.
Mark
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So good it almost makes me want to be a believer
M
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Let me begin by thanking Goodreads and their First Reads program for giving me a free copy of Lazarus is Dead to read and review.

I want to make it clear that while I have no prior knowledge of the Bible or the story of Jesus and Lazarus, I did, however, really enjoy the book. Richard Beard’s retelling of the story of Lazarus can definitely appeal to a secular reader, so don’t let the religious themes discourage you from picking up this book.
Kristin
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok


I thought this book was going to be historical fiction. Instead, the author described certain passages from the Bible and some historical claims in one chapter, and then the next described what could have happened to Lazarus and the people he interacted with. This format didn't work. The author didn't do a good job of either presenting a historical account or developing a plot based on history. I was disappointed by this book.
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Richard Beard is the author of five novels. X20 (Flamingo 1996) is about a man giving up smoking: every time he wants a cigarette, he writes something down instead. Damascus (Flamingo 1998) is a love-story set on a single day, 1 November 1993, and all the nouns in the novel come from that day’s edition of The Times newspaper. The Cartoonist (Bloomsbury 2000) is a novel set in and around Disneyland ...more
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“Miracles are disruptive. When the dust settles there is always damage done – not all the hungry are fed, and not all the sick are healed.” 0 likes
“Dying is easy. Anyone can do it. Living is the problem – Lazarus has been brought back to life and he can’t explain himself.” 0 likes
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