John by Niall Williams
John stands in the storm. He has no fear of any kind. He has outlived all manner of pain and been near enough to death to kiss its face and walk away. He has lived for a purpose and believes he knows what it is. Aged as dust, blind and perilously frail, John has walked ten thousand miles, more, to tell of love. He was from the beginning and will be at the end: he has lived to witness in a hundred years sights and scenes that cloud his mind. Of his disciples, there are few remaining, banished with him to the island of Patmos where they wait. They wait as storm clouds whip the island with rain. They wait for the world to free them from exile. They wait for signs that never come. Their belief starts to turn into agonising doubt as they are ravaged by bewilderment and impatience. Frustration and bitterness rage inside Matthias, forcing him to turn his back on his friends, his leader, and his belief. As the disciples' loyalty disintegrates into betrayal, Papias remains at John's side, tending to his old master with a constancy that is undiminished to the end of his life. Always, the shadow of grief follows them, for the love that has given their lives meaning was not shared by the rest of the world. Niall Williams' new novel is a prodigious feat of imagination written with poetic vision, and an unforgettable validation of courage and faith. Romantic, wild and passionate, John is the story of what it might be to love for a lifetime.