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  • Published: 25 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473584273
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

Names of the Women

An extraordinary reimagining of the New Testament from the points of view of the women who became the disciples of Jesus Christ - and whose roles have been erased from the Gospels

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.


  • Published: 25 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473584273
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

Praise for Names of the Women

Names of The Women unerases the erased, gives voice to the silenced, restores the lost, and brings dazzling, smouldering life to stories long left for dead. It is literally a tale that's waited a thousand years to be told.

Marlon James, Winner of the 2015 Booker Prize

Names of the Women is an extraordinary work of restoration, playful invention, and stark beauty. In Jeet Thayil's skilled telling the gospel stories, which have lasted so long, spread so far, and become so dulled by familiarity, have their deep original strangeness returned to them.

Chris Power

An electrifying new treatment of the old story; haunting, mysterious, intelligent.

Tessa Hadley

Achingly beautiful. Powerful, poetic and profoundly feminist.

Jennifer Croft

Original and thought-provoking . . . This is a bold and beguiling addition to the canon of New Testament fiction.

Michael Arditti, Spectator

Bold and compelling.

Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times


Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

It's fascinating to be reminded how little we properly understand one of the foundational stories of western civilisation. And there are moments where the much-pondered events are reframed in a new light.

Marcel Theroux, Guardian

Theologically well-informed, imaginative and affecting . . . This is a fascinating and beautiful book. You most certainly do not have to be either a Christian or a feminist to appreciate it, and, in fact, if you are neither it might make you think twice about both.

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

Thayil sheds absorbing light on a period when women of all classes were disregarded . . . [Names of the Women is] executed with real empathy and aplomb.

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

Jeet Thayil's Names of the Women enacts a long-overdue reinstating of female voices in the story of Jesus . . . Thayil's parade of female voices enriches a narrative hitherto synonymous with his-story with a hyphen.

Emily Watkins

[A] richly imagined novel.

Lady, *Summer Reads of 2021*

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