Category: Book Reviews
PRESERVATIONIST by David Maine
This book is a jaw-dropping retelling of the Noah's ark story--yes, I said Noah's ark--and what's amazing is that it works so well. I half-expected some plodding, self-important preaching but it's not like that at all; it's really funny (at times), surprisingly moving (at other times), deadpan as hell, and written with almost hallucinatory grace. A friend of mine described it as striking just the right balance between spare and expressive. She's right: that's exactly what it is.
As far as I can tell, Maine has stuck to the Bible story pretty closely, but has also filled in a heck of a lot of gaps. Since the original story's only 4 or 5 pages long and this is 230 (and all too short at that!), he's obviously added a lot of material. But it's all necessary and it's all compelling. Unlike in the Bible, all the characters have a chance to say their bit, and boy, they take advantage... I've read some reveiws making much of the fact that Noah's daughters-in-law are strong characters, and they are; but to me the sons are just as fleshed out and unique. Each different from the others, also. And their mom's a hoot. (She refers to Noah as "Himself.")
I don't know exactly what a fundamentalist Christian would make of this story. I mean I don't think it's blasphemous or anything; Noah isn't a philanderer, or a vegetarian, or gay. But on the other hand he does have sex and go to the toilet and, most of all, he's not at all a perfect human being. He sins. He gets some things wrong. He acts mean, sometimes. Me, I think this is a fantastic ploy to bring this Biblical icon down to our level. But I guess if you're someone who prefers your religious figures as hazy perfections floating up in the ether, you should avoid this book. EVERYBODY else, though, should read it!
Submitted by Haleigh Wilde, posted on Saturday September 25, @11:08AM