The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus (2nd edition)

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The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus (2nd edition)

A bold and wild ride through two thousand years of myth and mayhem in an outrageous serio-comic work of literary fiction. Readers are invited to accompany Wanda, Lynn Joffe’s outrageous, boundaries-pushing heroine, on a soul-boggling journey that crisscrosses ancient and modern worlds and slips in and out of many centuries. As a guide, Wanda’s delightfully irreverent voice, alternately sardonic and tender, provides a running commentary that has us breathlessly trying to keep up.

Set over two thousand years and written in the throes of the #metoo era, Wanda B. Lazarus adds her unique voice to the literary mix. Part Odyssey, part Groundhog Day, Wanda’s journeys give us an alternative view of history retold as her-story. And she’s holding nothing back. Get set for a wild ride.



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.


Lynn Joffe

Born in London and raised on four continents, Lynn Joffe has written and produced a vast array of storytelling projects for radio, stage and TV. Lynn founded Creatrix, an integrated branded content agency, using storytelling techniques to create behaviour change. She has performed in a variety of self-penned cabarets and published a children’s picture book, The Tale of Stingray Charles. Lynn produced and presented a 13-part jazz series, Bejazzled, which flighted across Africa. Her short fiction has been published in Short Sharp Stories’ Instant Exposure, 36 Hours and Source magazine. Lynn graduated with an MA (cum laude) in Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Literature, Language and Media, in 2017. The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is her first novel.

Lynn Joffe's author page

The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is just the kind of novel the world needs right now. Draw a line through The Odyssey, the Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, Don Quixote, Gargantua, The Flying Dutchman and The Confederacy of Dunces, sprinkle over all with good kosher salt and you only scratch the surface of this big, bountiful novel.  Just what the world needs – a fizzing, fulsome and fiercely funny heroine worlds away from the anaemic, lifeless puppets that populate so much fiction today, and a novel that is charged with music, energy, bounce, juice and joy.”   Stephen Fry


The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus is a unique and significant contribution to South African letters, contemporary Jewish literature and feminist comedic writing … a superb comic novel. A Rabelaisian romp that provides a unique and entirely original take on important episodes and locations in the long history of the Jewish diaspora. I can think of no other character in South African fiction who is anything like Wanda B. Lazarus.”

Prof Neville Hoad, University of Austin, Texas


“There is no doubt that this is an exciting read – exhilarating, hilarious, brilliant, thought provoking, provocative, and riveting. I laughed on every page. “ Dr Michelle Adler, University of the Witwatersrand

‘Naughty, playful, mischievous, eccentric, sexy, exuberant. It is so rich and so full. Every sentence is a work of art.’ – Peter Terry, Classic 1027


‘This tale of sexual ambiguity, favours and frissons, of musical mayhem in nine lives as Wanda skips through the centuries is blended with the mystical and sometimes downright stroppy presence of nine classical muses who court with fate and their brother Apollo, between Wanda’s lives, tossing feminist values with a bit of vegan philosophy and political correctness into the mix, for good measure. Allowing yourself to catch your breath after this rollicking crazy read, you may consider it to be one of the great Jewish novels to emerge in contemporary times. With a healthy dollop of unprecious and downright rude self-deprecation and a rich amalgam of culture in proportions you might never have thought of, it sings with the same kind of madness as Gunter Grass’s Tin Drum, consorts with Jewish values as directly and provocatively as Amos Oz does in Judas.’ – Robyn Sassen, Blogger, My View

‘Nothing, not the cover, not the shout outs by Stephen Fry, nor the reviews I’ve already read, could have prepared me for story of The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus. The premise of this extraordinarily clever, hilarious, daring, joyful, raunchy, musically feminist ‘frisson’ of a story is that of the immortal Wanda. It’s a retelling of the old myths and historical legends in the most unusual way imaginable through a mix of up Yiddish language and upturned clichés. Wanda delves deep into Jewish history and Greek mythology, starting in Judea in 33CE and winds her way through to Norway in 2020CE. Her desires? To recast the myth of the Wandering Jew rather as an outspoken Jewess, Wanda (the original Miriam) who, through her love of music and determination to have women’s voices heard, tells her own tale in a language that is entirely and uniquely her own. Her quest? To become the Tenth Muse.’ – Niki Malherbe, Author


‘Loved it. I’ve read many books lately that I’ve really enjoyed but none have provided the sheer exuberant fun of Wanda. Lynn is a master storyteller with a wonderful way of imagining events. I am astonished at what she was able to pack into this book. Nothing is forced, padded, or an infodump. Wanda is the perfect character to react to historical events throughout history. She’s funny, resilient, randy, bawdy (also vulgar and raunchy), sexy, and an assertive feminist.’ – Mack Lundy, Goodreads

‘Wanda B Lazarus is the irrepressible heroine of the ages through which she travels in this marvellous series of stories. The book starts in Jerusalem in the year 33 CE, but we come to realise as we read that Wanda was around long before this, as we are drawn into her exploits from then up until the present day. As I finished the book, I thought ‘a luta continua, Wanda’ or even more so ‘la vita continua, you go girl!’. Because it’s hopeful and despite pain and tragedy, I very much wanted, as Wanda did, the music of life to go on.’ – Colleen Dawson, University of the Witwatersrand

A wild and wonderful romp satirizing the anti-Semitic Christian myth of the undying wandering Jew, now revealed as a woman! Tremendous storytelling, exposing the follies of hatred and patriarchy which capture us all, filled with sex, drugs and rock n roll, music and madness through the ages, and so much more. The crazy wordplay is verdant, brilliant, original, titillating for lovers of language. There is a strong and amusing Yiddish motif embedded in Wanda’s mischievous and artful expression, her charisma a Power to Behold. This debut novel is a tour de force. Expansive in its breadth and depth, over time and space, through a rollicking, comical ride.’ – Peter Christie, Storyteller


‘Take Jewish history and mix in some ancient Greek, add a dash of groundhog day and a splash of the Pythonesque, include some classic themes and some contemporary criticism and drive it all forward with a feisty, fabulous, female, feminist character and you will start get to get a sense of  the rip, rollicking, ride that is The Gospel According to Wanda B Lazarus.’ – Benji Shulman. Times of Israel


‘I really loved this book. It was a romp of a read. I had to laugh out loud and wonder and research … it was one of those books that challenged and entertained me all the way.’ – Andrea van Wyk, Book Blogger


‘Hold on to you britches bitches, Wanda is about to take you on a wild ride! Wanda – an accidentally immortal being – is a heroine for our times (and in fact, all times). She is wicked, foul-mouthed, funny, kind hearted and occasionally criminal. In other words, flawed but irresistible. On the surface of it, author Lynn Joffe has created an energetic and entertaining tale that spans centuries and even other dimensions as we follow in Wanda’s footsteps. But make no mistake, this is also a serious business. Joffe has experimented with the form of the picaresque novel, turned the anti-Semitic trope of the Wandering Jew inside out and upside down and offered a tart-tongued feminist retort to the ways that history has curtailed womens’ choices. More than anything else though, Wanda is great fun and I dare you to be anything other than riveted as she shimmies, sashays and blasphemes her way through history, all while auditioning for the role of her many lifetimes.’ – Ambre Nicolson, Women Zone Connect


‘Wanda swaggers and seduces her way through history with a quirky combination of beitzim and braggadocio, and yet her story is, at the core, that of the Feminine principle: of connection, creativity, truth, beauty, love, birth, death, intuition, authenticity; unbound by convention and gender roles, uninhibited by the mores of time and place. Utter delight, in these dark and troubled times. A clever, clever book. I will never look at a pomegranate in the same way again, and neither will you. Brava, Lynn.’ – Ronèlle Hart Jaspan, Goodreads


‘Joffe has put together an epic love song to the salty, spunky, tenacious and hilarious Wanda B. A pull-you-by-the-seat-of-your-pants read. – Tiah Marie Beautement, Book Blogger



Yentl meets Back to the Future, with a hundred characters, a thousand gags, and – most importantly – the music of the spheres.” Diane Awerbuck