Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Review-Eve: A Novel Of The First Woman by Elissa Elliot
It is the world’s oldest tale: the story of Eve, her husband, Adam, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons…. In this luminous debut novel, Elissa Elliott puts a powerful twist on biblical narrative, boldly reimagining Eve’s journey. At once intimate and universal, timely and timeless, this unique work of fiction blends biblical tradition with recorded history and dazzling storytelling. And as it does, Eve comes to life in a way religion and myth have never allowed—in a novel that explores the very essence of love, motherhood, faith, and humanity.
In their world they are alone…a family haunted by banishment, struggling for survival in a harsh new land. A woman who has borne and buried children, Eve sees danger shadowing those she loves, while her husband drifts further and further from the man he was in the Garden, blinded by his need to rebuild a life outside of Eden. One daughter, alluring, self-absorbed Naava, turns away from their beliefs. Another, crippled, ever-faithful Aya, harbors a fateful secret, while brothers Cain and Abel become adversaries, and Dara, the youngest, is chosen for a fate of her own.
In one hot, violent summer, by the shores of the muddy Euphrates, strangers arrive on their land. New gods challenge their own. And for Eve, a time of reckoning is at hand. The woman who once tasted the forbidden fruit of paradise sees her family unraveling—as brother turns on brother, culminating in a confrontation that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.
From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve takes us on a breathtaking journey of the imagination. A novel that has it all—romantic love, lust, cruelty, heroism, envy, sacrifice, murder—Eve is a work of mesmerizing literary invention by a singular new voice in fiction.
I choose to read Eve in hopes of finding another The Red Tent. Trying to find biblical fiction as delightful as The Red Tent is why I read any biblical fiction. And for the first time, I feel like I found something close to the wonderfulness that is The Red Tent. Close but not better than The Red Tent.
Eve's story is told from the perspective of Eve and her 3 daughters. Even and Adam have been banished from Eden and are struggling to make it on their own. Eve longs for Eden. She builds herself a garden at their new home in the hopes of replicating Eden.
I found it most interesting that Adam and Eve believed and were shocked to find other people inhabiting the world. I imagine that they thought God had not created more people but I found it icky that Eve assumed her sons would marry her daughters-gross! The other people believed in different gods and were more advanced than Adam and Eve. These other people lead Cain, Dara, Eve, and Naava to question their beliefs. There is a lot of questioning in this book. No determinations of who's right and who's wrong but what beliefs lead to which paths.
I enjoyed Eve and occasionally forgot I was reading a story about biblical characters. The characters angered me, made me laugh and cry. Elliot does a great job of (for the most part) making the characters leap off the page. Recommended.
Other reviews can be found at Wandeca Reads, Historically Obsessed, and Library Girl Reads.