Eve: A Novel of the First Woman
Another book sent to me by The Ooze. The first outright fiction, I think, and the first book by a woman that they’ve sent.
When Julie Clawson suggested a synchroblog for International Women’s Day featuring women in the Bible, I thought, “Great! I’ll finally write a review of that book I’ve been reading.” It is the story of the first family, told through the eyes of Eve and three of her daughters.
I finally finished it yesterday. I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, at least not fiction written for grownups. And definitely not the kind that includes references to “swollen manhood.” I suppose you can’t really write about Eve without getting into the topic of sex, yet this book clearly is written for a religious audience and so probably it can’t get too explicit. Still, it was a little jarring for me, more than actually erotic.
The story of Eve and Adam and their children is also the story of a pretty dysfunctional family. This book delves into how that started and how it connects to untold generations of unhealthy families to come.
There are some very good passages about how the temptation of Eve might actually have happened, and how and why the offerings of Cain and Abel were made and received, and how it all affected everyone so badly.
Throughout the book, Elohim is an interesting character, known only through the memories and experiences of other people, never speaking for himself. The first family’s interaction with another culture is also interesting. The other religion is clearly portrayed as false, while Elohim is portrayed as elusive but real. Which is how I tend to experience God, but still. It’s pretty clear what the author’s opinion is, and there are some tangential threads that back up the understanding that all of this is leading to the need for a future Savior, without quite coming out and saying that. Which probably appeals to some people and not to others. You know who you are.
Definitely thought provoking. Also disturbing, imaginative, and gripping. I never stopped to imagine what really happened to Eve and Adam and their children in this “earthy-gritty fashion,” as the author says on her website. A worthy attempt, I’d say.
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