Judas Iscariot is the historical symbol of betrayal. But what really happened at the Garden of Gethsemane? What really compelled Judas to hang himself from a tree? I, Judas reimagines Iscariot’s relationship to Jesus Christ and explores Judas’s orchestration of the elaborate con of the divinity of Jesus Christ, subverting the legend of Judas as he inhabits some of our most notorious literary and historic figures in their darkest hours. Custer, Sexton, Van Gogh: these famous suicides converge through the figure of Judas in a cutting-edge piece of fiction that exposes the dangers of seeking universal truths in myth.
Buy a copy of James Reich’s novel I, Judas. Walk alongside Judas and Jesus, taste the wine, smell the whores, slip the noose over your head, witness the fear, self loathing and betrayal. Then... abandon all hope... of putting it down until you’ve finished reading it.
Reich proves to be a thoughtful and meticulous provocateur — a much-needed voice in contemporary fiction. In I, Judas, there is a delicious lawlessness of prose, a revolt against conventional language and storytelling. Some may take offense to his insinuations; but isn’t that often the case with great fiction?
James Reich is a sensible product of 20th century literature, Faulkner, Joyce, Cortazar, Ginsberg, Dylan, and film maker Kenneth Anger... Best is his surprising ability to strike home continually with an exalted, consummate phrase, paragraph, even a word... a fascinating thinker... a genuine writer.
As Taliban fundamentalists dynamited the Bamiyan Buddhas, with this book Reich blows up the Gospels... Yeats’ Second Coming is so optimistic in comparison. Reich writes beautifully... a gruesome enchantment... a new and personal understanding of that old-fashioned word blasphemous... iconoclastic and brutal prose poetry.
Reading I, Judas, I found myself often provoked, occasionally disgusted or even enraged, and always riveted. It’s not often that a book or a writer not only confounds my expectations, but makes me question a set of assumptions I didn’t even know I held.
With exquisite prose James Reich delivers a rich and provocative cultural elucidation as he poetically unfolds the relationship of Jesus and Judas across millenniums.
This one’ll have you clenched in a fetal position for a century, relieved only by the occasional orgasms of its mellifluous prose. You have to be strong to read this book: it rains fireballs.