Jesus Tales

Jesus Tales book cover

Linney’s third novel, Jesus Tales, is an adaptation of folk stories he discovered during one of his stays at Yaddo.  Like the folk ballads from his class with Cratis Williams years before, the stories Linney read about Jesus and Saint Peter intrigued him.  The stories are similar to those in the Bible, but more comic, with Saint Peter playing the fool and Jesus constantly getting him out of trouble.  The book was published in 1980 and won the Mishima Prize for Fiction.  In his Foreward to Jesus Tales, novelist Reynolds Price writes, “If Romulus Linney had done nothing else here…he would deserve grateful readers for inventing a whole possible wing in the old house of Jesus’ name and nature: a laughing god, approachable and tangible, mining our world with the sly cherry-bombs of his love and care.”