Monday, February 25, 2013

Havah: The Story of Eve {book review Monday}

Happy Monday, here's a book review ...

Telling the story of Eve is like telling the story of all of humanity.  I admire Tosca Lee for tackling it.  As a fellow [aspiring] writer of Biblical Fiction, I know how hard it can be to walk the fine line of fictionalizing the Truth in a way that captures interest while preserving original content.  I honestly believe Lee nailed it in Havah, The Story of Eve.

I could summarize the plot here ... but you already know it.  Immense joy of reveling in first creation; Man, Woman, and God abiding in the beautiful garden of bliss; a lie from a forked tongue and grief to God never before known; struggle to survive in the world without His constant presence; the marvel of first son and then second; the horror when one killed the other; burden of being the mother of all; joy of knowing the love of one man for a lifetime (or dozens - she lived hundreds of years); and pursuing the journey back to redemption.  If you are looking for a surprise ending, this might not be the novel for you, but if you're looking for a fresh look at the oldest story ever, you're in for a literary treat!

Lee's writing is deeply poetic, laden with metaphors and descriptive language - she brings the story of creation to life like none other I've read before.  I especially enjoyed her depiction of Adam and Havah's love, from the sensual beginning through the tumultuous middle, and to the persevering end.  Reflective of the first couple, we see our own gender differences, and the struggle-filled joy of becoming one.  Also, Havah's thrills and trials as the first mother caused me to reflect in gratitude about the blessing it is to learn from other moms before me.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"And I know the God made the heart the most fragile and resilient of organs, that a lifetime of joy and pain might be encased in one mortal chamber."
"No, it wasn't that I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be alone with the One. The one who scaled then careened from the heights of the Mount. The One who raised up the man from the mud. The One who fashioned me from a part of the man and knew me more intimately than even the adam. ... I was more alive than the first day I drew breath. Than the first time I lay in the adam's arms. I was alive as one can only be in the presence of the One."
"I squinted at him./ Death. Evil. To know as a god, the serpent had said. Had I not craved all things of God, all knowledge?/ I lifted my eye again to that tree. This time, instead of seeing the fruit, bursting with juice upon it, I saw the answer to every unknown thing, the satisfaction of a craving deeper than hunger./ I couldn't remember anything so beautiful."
"Even then, I loved him. Even then, wished I could undo every memory of hurt from him.  That I could give birth to Hevel [Abel] again, knowing that in his second chance, Kayin [Cain] would never resent him. Perhaps even then the One would still reject him, but at lease we could let be, knowing that the One did as he pleased, whether we knew the reasons or not."

Happy reading, Friends!

"The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too." - Genesis 3:6 (NLT)

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