I received an opportunity to read and review Simon’s Crossing by Charles William Asher and Dennis Patrick Slattery. Asher is an Episcopal priest, and he has written this story using Simon the Cyrene as the main character. This is a imagining of what the man might have been like, why he was in Jerusalem, and how carrying the cross for Christ along the road to Golgotha may have affected his life.
The story is interesting, as we get to know Simon’s wife and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus. We also see the brutal rule of the Romans and the struggles of the Jews of the time. Much of the Bible story and church history is also included. We meet Veronica, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, as well as Joseph of Arimathea and others. The different aspects of the crowd responding to Pontius Pilate and along the long walk are all shown and described well. The origin of some of the holy relics are also described.
The subject and the confusion and the purpose of the crucifixion are handled well in this novel. I am not Episcopal (or Catholic) so I don’t hold to all the traditions told as part of the story, but that didn’t detract in any way. By focusing on Simon, we see the struggle and pain of Jesus from a very understandable point of view, and we watch Simon’s perspective change as he suffers in such close intimacy with Jesus.
Some of the writing style was not as tight as it could be, with some shifts of topic being disjointed and repetitive in an attempt to reinforce the emotions and struggles. But it is a very readable story.