MixedThe New York Review of BooksThe book is long and sprawling. Reading it is rather like listening to a cultivated but supremely self-absorbed acquaintance who cannot stop talking about himself. The translator, John Lambert, catches this tone perfectly ... Carrère’s book is an anguished, if sometimes repetitive, attempt to understand why Christianity appealed to him in the first place ... The strictly autobiographical parts of The Kingdom, without reference to Carrère’s religious convictions or to Luke and Paul, are ultimately the least successful and rarely cohere with the work as a whole ... These oddly self-indulgent insertions, which have only autobiography to link them to anything that has preceded, perhaps serve to expand the already expanded genre of novelized autobiography, although in this case the narrative is overtaken by its lengthy and inconclusive ruminations on the early history of Christianity. The Kingdom is often interesting and engaging to read, because its author is never short of opinions or experiences that he is eager to impart...But his biographies of bizarre figures such as Romand or Limonov and his screenplays, for which he is indebted to Philip K. Dick, have made it difficult for him to write about someone like himself, who has neither a criminal record nor hallucinations. His spiritual journey to and from Christianity deserves better.
RaveThe New York Review of Books...Beard gives her readers a master class in historical analysis, with due attention to the reliability of sources, the corruption of traditions, politically motivated myth-making, and the mysterious process by which perceptions of the past determine the course of subsequent events.