The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus

Lynn Joffe

A furiously funny, feminist take on the myth of the Wandering Jew. Wanda B. Lazarus freewheels through the ages relating her musically-charged, irreverent tales in her quest to become the tenth muse.

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The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus

What if … the Wandering Jew … was a woman? And not just any woman; a sexually charged, foul-mouthed, free-wheeling muso, who strides through the ages at the behest of the muses of antiquity, in her quest to become the tenth muse.

Accidentally cursed with immortality, Wanda has no choice but to keep moving. Each new locale of her serial reincarnations is wittily and vividly rendered. And Wanda gets around – from Jerusalem in the time of Jesus (who is actually Wanda’s buddy Yossi) to Palmyra, Langue D’Oc to Londinium, New York to Norway – and many places in between. In each she manages to insinuate herself into events that may or may not change the course of history.

During her many journeys around the globe Wanda takes time out to return several times to an in-between world called the Pleroma, where she chills with the diffident Nine Muses of Antiquity, hoping against hope that they will allow her to become the Tenth Muse if she fulfills the increasingly impossible tasks they set her to prove her musical worth.

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, also revision Jewish history and mythology from her perspective.

Lynn Joffe

Lynn Joffe has written dozens of series and scripts for radio and TV as CEO and ECD of Creatrix, a multilingual storytelling and branded content agency. She has penned and performed a variety of cabaret shows and published a children’s picture book, The Tale of Stingray Charles. Her short fiction has been published in Short Sharp Stories’ Instant Exposure, 36 Hours and Source magazine. Lynn graduated with an MA (cum laude) in Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Literature, Language and Media, in 2017. The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is her first novel.

Lynn Joffe's author page

The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is just the kind of novel the world needs right now. Draw a line through The Odyssey, The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, Don Quixote, Gargantua, The Flying Dutchman and The Confederacy of Dunces, sprinkle over all with good kosher salt and you only scratch the surface of this big, bountiful novel. Just what the world needs – a fizzing, fulsome and fiercely funny heroine worlds away from the anaemic, lifeless puppets that populate so much fiction today, and a novel that is charged with music, energy, bounce, juice and joy.” Stephen Fry

The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is a unique and significant contribution to South African letters, contemporary Jewish literation and feminist comedic writing … a superb comic novel. A Rabelaisian romp that provides a unique and entirely original take on important episodes and locations in the long history of the Jewish diaspora. I can think of no other character in South African fiction who is anything like Wanda B. Lazarus.” Prof Neville Hoad, University of Austin, Texas

“There is no doubt that this is an exciting read – exhilarating, hilarious, brilliant, thought provoking, provocative, and riveting. I laughed on every page. “ Dr Michelle Adler, University of the Witwatersrand

Yentl meets Back to the Future, with a hundred characters, a thousand gags, and – most importantly – the music of the spheres.” Diane Awerbuck