A novel which follows Lazarus to Jerusalem in search of Christ for completion of his miracle after he has been risen from the dead. Lazarus' deadened senses and his spiritual quest is vividly portrayed against the unrest in a land where the birth of a faith transformed human history.
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A schematic, rather bland tale of what might have happened to Lazarus after he was raised from the dead. French novelist Absire returns to the Biblical story of Lazarus, speculating that the Bethany carpenter was brought back from the dead, but not necessarily brought back to life. Unable to see much more of the world than a foggy haze, lacking strength and an appetitie, and unable to sleep, Lazarus never resumes his previously industrious life, occupying a twilight state between life and death. Absire portrays the carpenter as despairing in his death-in-life, the unwitting focus of attention from neighbors and, dangerously, a High Priest who views Lazarus' life as tangible evidence of Christ's message, a threat. The High Priest, Haggai, directs a servant to murder Lazarus, but - despite severe wounding - Lazarus lives on, aware now that, as a consequence of his resurrection, he in fact cannot die. Unable to get satisfactory answers out of the Apostles, whom Absire characterizes as ranging from the naive to the actively deceitful, Lazarus drifts to Jerusalem, where he strikes up a friendship with Jair, the subject of another miracle. Unlike his friend, Lazarus has lost all will to believe, and soon realizes that his moribund presence has rubbed off on Jair, who takes on his deathly manner and finally throws his life away altogether by taunting Haggai. Left alone, and burying himself away in a subterranean tunnel, Lazarus attempts to re-create a semblance of the death state as an act of defiance against his revival, all the better to advance Absire's transparent thesis: that Lazarus' resurrection was not a miracle, but a creel, supernatural hoax. But, unfortunately, lacking any development, Lazarus can't rise to the occasion to make Absire's schema compelling. (Kirkus Reviews)