The Gospel According to Wanda B Lazarus
Modjaji Books, 2020
Price: R330 (paper); R150 (epub)
Paper book and epub version available at: www.modjajibooks.co.za/titles/the-gospel-according-to-wanda-b-lazarus/ and www.exclusivebooks.co.za/product/9781928215981
What if the Wandering Jew were a woman? And not just any woman – a sexually charged, foul-mouthed, freewheeling muso who strides through the ages at the behest of the Muses of Antiquity. Wanda speaks to us in a voice spiced with Yiddishisms, mostly about sex, adventure and music, and it is the force of her character that holds the novel together across the dizzying array of historical settings she traverses. Despite the emphasis on laughter and satire of a particularly impudent variety, the inspiration behind this novel is a serious one: to re-imagine the ancient mythological figure of the Wandering Jew as a female, or picara, and in exploring her life as an eternal wanderer, to revision Jewish history and mythology from her perspective.
In this interview, Ron Irwin (UCT) interviews author Lynn Joffe, Wanda’s creator, and discovers not only the myriad of literary references that Wanda confronts, but also the many Jewish traditions and beliefs that Wanda thumbs her nose at. We arrive, finally, at the interesting autobiographical element of this novel, a product of deep Jungian therapy that enabled the author to recreate herself in the form of an ancient, ribald and risqué immortal woman whose eternal wish is to become the tenth Muse.
- Music stings (c) Adam Howard and Lynn Joffe 2021