Big Fisherman, Big Disappointment.

In The Big Fisherman, Lloyd C. Douglas explores the rise of Christianity in a complicated story tangled around the figure of Simon Peter.

I learned lots of trivia, like the fact that multinational crowds came to Jerusalem for a big, annual Pentecost camel auction, but I didn’t enjoy the novel in which Douglas package it.

Douglas gets his characters out of central casting. He runs them around to show the human side of historical events.

But when Douglas tries to transform Peter from impetuous braggart to martyred saint, he makes the apostle seem hokey.

Unfortunately, that’s not all that seems hokey.

There’s a love story that reads like a patchwork of scenes from bad movies. The girl, known as Fara or Esther, is an Arab Jew who vows to kill her father, Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee. To get to him, she disguises herself a boy.

Fara’s boyfriend, Volti, follows her to Judea to assassinate Antipas himself. The Romans get suspicious and lock him up. But Volti is such a gallant guy, they let him out so he can kill Antipas, who in their view needs killing.

I kept reading to see what happens to Fara and Volti — but nothing does.

If you’ll excuse the pun, The Big Fisherman just peters out.

The Big Fisherman
By Lloyd C. Douglas
Houghton Mifflin, 1948
581 pages
Bestseller # 1 for 1948
My Grade: C

© 2007 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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