Names of the Women

Names of the Women


From the Booker-shortlisted author of Narcopolis, in prose of extraordinary power, a novel about the women whose roles were suppressed, reduced or erased in the Gospels.

'Dazzling, smouldering . . . It is literally a tale that's waited a thousand years to be told.' MARLON JAMES, WINNER OF THE 2015 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Names of the Women begins with Christ on the cross addressing Mary of Magdala, asking her to bear witness to his death. As the novel unfolds, it tells the stories of fifteen women whose lives overlapped with the life of Christ. Lydia and Assia, Martha and Mary of Bethany, Junia the Widow of Jerusalem, Susanna the Barren, Ariamma the Canaanite, and others whose names have been spoken only in passing or not at all. Women who stayed with Christ through the crucifixion, when his disciples had abandoned him, and who spread his radical message - one that made them equals and a profound threat to power within the church.

Together, the voices of the women dare us to reimagine the story of the New Testament in a way it has never before been told.



  • Names of the Women is an extraordinary work of restoration, playful invention, and stark beauty.
    Chris Power

About the author

Jeet Thayil

JEET THAYIL was born in 1959 into a Syrian Christian family in Kerala, and educated at Jesuit schools in Bombay, Hong Kong and New York. Kerala's Syrian Christians trace their church to St. Thomas, who arrived on the Malabar coast around 50 AD and converted thirteen Hindu families to Christianity, or so tradition has it. Jeet's grandmother, Chachiamma Jacob, was the last of the family who recited from memory the hour-long service in Aramaic, Malayalam and Sanskrit that still defines the faith.
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