Book Review: The Preservationist


As promised.

There is a genre of fiction that I have read with mixed reactions for several years. I am not sure what to call it - it is a kind of fictionalization of stories from the Bible - sometimes these accounts stick pretty closely to the facts as given in the Good Book, sometimes they can get pretty off the wall. Examples that come to my mind are books by Madeleine L'Engle - The Genesis Trilogy and Many Waters - Many books by Orson Scott Card grouped under the title "Women of Genesis" (Fictional biographies of Sarah, Rachel and Leah, and Rebeckah) - and the recent best seller The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

In The Preservationist David Maine has attempted to fill in the blanks in the account from Genesis. (Chapters 6,7,8,9). He uses verses from the traditional Catholic English translation (the Douai-Rheims) as chapter headings. In attempting to fill in the details, Mr. Maine gives names to the wives of the sons of Noe (Noah) - but not to the wife of Noe. Mr. Maine has the task of gathering the beasts into the ark be given to the women. He creates characters who are 3 dimensional and believable, and he sets a scene that is graphic and gritty and very real.

I had a little trouble getting into the story when I first tried to read it. I am not sure why, but I nearly gave up several times after the first few pages. On reflection, I think that the sex scenes (which I personally found to be mostly gratuitous - you might disagree) kept me from wanting to turn the page. I also found some of the linguistic conventions the author employed to be a little contrived and more than a little distracting. A prime example of this is his use of the term 'rutting' for sexual intercourse. My literal mind sees rutting as an animal activity, and my understanding of theology places human sexual activity at a slightly higher level - at least when enjoyed at the level where God wants us to be.

None the less, when I was finally able to overlook the items that annoyed me, I found the book a reasonable read. Overall, I'd give it a B+. I enjoyed the characterization of the women immensely, despite what seemed to me to be a bit of God-bashing from a couple of Noe's daughters-in-law. And I truly loved a bit at the end, where Noe discovers the love he really has for his wife of all those years.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on September 25, 2005 4:30 PM.

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