Friday, October 3, 2008


The Preservationist The Preservationist by David Maine

rating: 5 of 5 stars


"Noe says, -I must build a boat.
-A boat, she says.
-A ship, more like. I'll need the boys to help, he adds as an afterthought.
-We're leagues from the sea, she says, or any river big enough to warrant a boat.
This conversation is making Noe impatient. -I've no need to explain myself to you.
-And when you're done, she says carefully, we'll be taking this ship to the sea somehow?
As usual, Noe's impatience fades quickly. -We'll not be going to the sea. The sea will be coming to us."

In this brilliant debut novel, Noah's family (or Noe as he's called here)-his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law-tell what it's like to live with a man touched by God, while struggling against events that cannot be controlled or explained. When Noe orders his sons to build an ark, he can't tell them where the wood will come from. When he sends his daughters-in-law out to gather animals, he can offer no directions, money, or protection. And once the rain starts, they all realize that the true test of their faith is just beginning. Because the family is trapped on the ark with thousands of animals-with no experience feeding or caring for them, and no idea of when the waters will recede. What emerges is a family caught in the midst of an extraordinary Biblical event, with all the tension, humanity-even humor-that implies.



I got this book from Paperback Swap several months ago and kept putting off because (I told myself) I had better things to read. Then, I accidentally listed on bookmooch as up for grabs. A very nice person in Israel wrote to me asking for it, and then when I ignored her (yes, I was hoping it would go away - sue me), she wrote a very nice letter explaining how badly she wanted this book.

So I scooped it up and thought I'd read it a little each night, and mail it to her within a week or so I expected it to be overly intellectual or to make fun of biblical stories or to simply be dull. Surprise.

This book is fantastic.

I finished it in about an hour and a half. I immediately regretted and didn't regret promising the book to the bookmooch person, and then I found it in overstock at Barnes & Noble for $4. So, yes, I'm buying her her own copy.

David Maine's voice is rich and vivid and honest and - how do I say this - embodies the feminist idea that God equally values both genders. The feats of imagination do nothing to dilute the tradition of the biblical story of Noah nor to take away from the meaning it holds for people who accept that faith as their own.

The chapters go back and forth between different characters (maybe Paolini took a note from Maine) without ever causing the reader to falter. Truly. The transitions are seamless, the plot intriguing, and then, all of the sudden, you're near the end of the book and you're crying.

Well, maybe you're not crying, but.....I am. Oh shut up.

The only downside to this story, I think, is there's a lot of "rutting" (a euphemism for "fucking") The reason I think that's a downside is that I think otherwise this would be a book that sophisticated middle-grade readers would enjoy, though it's obviously a book written for adults. It's one I highly recommend.


  1. lemme know when to begin oooooing n ahhhhing ;)

  2. Yeah, the "rutting" thing bothered me, too. A lot.



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