Like most successful men in their early thirties, Lazarus has plans that don’t involve dying. He is busy organizing his sisters, his business, and his women. Life is mostly good until far away in Galilee, without warning, his childhood best friend turns water into wine. Immediately, Lazarus falls ill. And with each subsequent miracle his health deteriorates: a nasty cough develops into an alarming array of afflictions unresponsive to the usual remedies. His sisters think Jesus can help, but the two men haven’t spoken for years. Lazarus is willing to try anything to make himself well, anything, that is, except ask Jesus for help.
Lazarus dies. Jesus weeps. Lazarus rises. This part we all know. But Lazarus is about to discover that returning from the dead isn’t easy at all.
An ingeniously funny and moving novel that disguises itself as biography, Lazarus Is Dead recounts the story of a great friendship lost and regained. Richard Beard’s brand of storytelling unabashedly turns convention on its head as he draws on biblical sources, historical detail, art and contemporary literature, to throw a spell over his readers that remains unbroken until the final pages of this astonishing story about second chances.
“Funny, smart, scary, sad—and above all, completely convincing. Maybe not the way it was, but the way it must have been.”
—Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
“Lazarus Is Dead is a thrilling meta-novel. Richard Beard informs, provokes and always entertains.”
—Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“The narrative voice—cultivated, wry, yet not too knowing to sustain a note of wonder—makes Lazarus Is Dead so compelling.”
“Richard Beard is one of the most ingenious, resourceful and entertaining novelists in England.”
Richard Beard is the author of four novels, including Damascus (Arcade, 1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Dry Bones (Secker & Warburg, 2004). He has written three works of non-fiction, and is the Director of the National Academy of Writing in London.