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Extended Audio Sample The Testament of Mary, by Colm Tóibín Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Colm Tóibín Narrator: Meryl Stree Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary presents Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity.

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the son of God, nor that his death was “worth it,” nor that the “group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye,” were holy disciples. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone, in a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A slim, grave, exquisitely emotional book…The Testament of Mary is a spellbinding, surprisingly reverent book.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A heartfelt, powerful work.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Tóibín is at his lyrical best in The Testament of Mary…Originally performed as a one-woman show in Dublin, it takes its power from the surprises of its language, its almost shocking characterization, its austere refusal of consolation.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Dramatic and poetic…A powerful, devastating story.”

    Washington Post

  • “[An] exquisite novella…Tóibín gives a familiar story startling intimacy.”

    New Yorker

  • “Mary—silent, obedient, observant—has echoed down two millennia, cementing a potent ideal in the Western imagination. Now the masterful Irish writer Colm Tóibín puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version in The Testament of Mary.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Lovely, understated and powerfully sad, The Testament of Mary finally gives the mother of Jesus a chance to speak. And, given that chance, she throws aside the blue veil of the Madonna to become wholly, gloriously human.”


  • “A flawless work, touching, moving, and terrifying.”

    New Statesman (UK)

  • “With this masterly novella, Tóibín has finally tackled the subject of Christianity—and he has done so with a vengeance.”

    Sunday Times (UK)

  • “Tóibín is a wonderful writer: as ever, his lyrical and moving prose is the real miracle.”

    Observer (UK)

  • “This novel is the Virgin’s version of the life of Christ. After a lifetime listening to everyone else’s versions of that life, she is angry and frustrated because they are all questionable.”

    Irish Independent

  • “There is a profound ache throughout this little character study, a steely determination coupled with an unbearable loss. Although it has some insightful things to say about religion and the period—the descriptions of the Crucifixion are visceral—it has a universal message about the nature of loss.”

    Scotland on Sunday

  • “A poignant reimagining of the last days of Christ.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A stunning interpretation that is as beautiful in its presentation as it is provocative in its intention.”


  • “A work suffused with mystery and wonder.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “An ideal audiobook…Streep has an impressive ability to crest the structurally intricate sentences Tóibín has fashioned, which sometimes have the flowing, rhythmic cadences of certain passages in the Bible itself…Streep’s voice is familiar to generations of moviegoers, but its beauty as an instrument can be appreciated in this context as it often cannot be in films…Tóibín’s exquisite book [is] rendered by Streep with all its detached, quiet, consoling humanity intact.”

    New York Times Book Review (audio review)

  • “Between them, author Colm Tóibín and narrator Meryl Streep have created an audio experience worthy of all the popular awards put together. A shortlist finalist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, The Testament of Mary delivers what the title suggests—the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth as remembered by his mother. Told in the first person, this testament is a fearsome thing, not always what his followers, faithfully writing down her words, want to hear. But tell it she does—she, Mary/Meryl. What a role. Gorgeously, fluidly, evocatively written. Scenes of celebration, miracle, terror, pain, and redemption are vividly conjured as Streep transmutes herself into the famous first-century mother…Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Month, November 2012
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A November 2012 Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice for Fiction
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2012
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A 2014 Audie Award Finalist for Literary Fiction
  • A 2014 Audie Award Finalist for Best Solo Narration-Female
  • A 2013 Man Booker Prize Finalist
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