Cerquiera, Joao. “Jesus and Magdalene”, Line by Lion, 2016.
The Return of Jesus
Joao Cerquiera begins his novel by telling us that Jesus returns to earth and there he meets Magdalene, an activist who is leading a fight for a better world. Jesus comes upon an ecological group that is extremist in outlook and plans and he learns that is the group’s plan to destroy a maize plantation that they think has been genetically modified. He also sees something of a battle against a tourist development that is planned to be built in a forest reserve. As if that is not already enough, Jesus also sees an armed conflict between blacks and gypsies. Jesus knows to limit himself to accompanying Magdalene and just try to speak with those are dissatisfied with the way things are going but he is also unable to escape to run from the fury and the anger of mankind.
By now toy should have realized that this is a very brave satire and by brave I mean that author Cerquiera dares to use religious iconic figures as characters in his novel. This is the first thing that I have read by him but I did a little research and discovered that he is at home writing satire and through his novels he satirizes modern society through the use of irony and humor, he provokes reflection and controversy. Satire is extremely difficult to write one who writes it must be sure of himself and of what he has to say. In looking at people and society as targets of satire, it is necessary to provide an alternative to what is there otherwise poking fun at it becomes lame.
We see immediately that Cerquiera dares to deal with icons here, especially Jesus who relives his former life but in quite a different way.
In the prologue, we are simply told that Jesus has returned but we do not know why. The issues that he dealt with the past are either long gone or no longer issues. This Jesus believes in originality and besides things are very different now. We see that this time the immaculate conception does not exist (no one would believe it anyway).
If you want to know how he came here you will just have to read the book because I am not giving any of the plot away. Through the use of humor, Jesus and Magdalene deal with modern social and political conflict. Divided into thee parts we deal with the question as to why there are so many conflicts going on today. Jesus has far less trouble on his first visit as the crowds were smaller and the conflicts were much easier to do with. (Besides the Holy land was a small place).
The first part of the book is entitled “Corn” and deals with GMO and radical ecology, section two, “Resort” looks at the corruption in politics and corrupt politicians and part III “Race” looks at racial clashes. The characters are composite stereotypes and these include a priest who forces Jesus to take confession (and this in itself says something about the tone of the book—Jesus, as the son of God has no need to confess his sins—he is sinless), the group of ecologists, already mentioned, a priest who forces him to take confession, a corrupt local politician, contractors who are dishonest in their business dealings. , a police commander who plays the role of Pilate, the inhabitants of run-down neighborhood, a wizard with the ability t solve all of world’s problems, and a black boy and a gypsy girl in love (Romy and Julian). Jesus is not recognized except by a con guy, Professor Kacimba.
Satire is based upon existent truths and this is where the novel really shines. It is well written and the characters are so well drawn that you will find yourself immersed in the book by the second page.