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.