In the spirit of Anita Diamant, this ambitious and unforgettable novel about the story of Noah blends Biblical history, mythology, and the inimitable strength of women.
Cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, the young heroine in The Sinners and the Sea is deprived even of a name for fear that it would make it easier for people to spread lies about her. But this virtuous woman has the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories live anew.
Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a land of outcasts. Noah, a 600-year-old paragon of virtue, rises to the role of preacher to a town full of sinners. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons, but is faced with the hardship of living with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than with her. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite a pious upbringing, have developed some sinful tendencies of their own. But her trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world.
Kanner weaves a masterful tale that breathes new life into one of the Bible’s voiceless characters. Through the eyes of Noah’s wife we see a complex world where the lines between righteousness and wickedness blur. And we are left wondering: Would I have been considered virtuous enough to save?
About the Author:
Rebecca Kanner’s writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award and a Loft Mentorship Award. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review. She is a freelance writer and teaches writing at The Loft in Minneapolis.
This book is based upon facts from Biblical history, though I am not sure which parts of the book are fact and which are fiction. I did not realize until I read the book that Noah’s wife did not have a name. The book explains that this is because she had a birthmark on her face and her father would not name her thinking that if she did not have a name then others could not talk about her and her birthmark. Very interesting point. I found the entire book to be interesting, It held my attention throughout and the author developed the characters well. You felt as if you knew each character personally and I wanted to continue reading to see what would happen next. I also never thought much about what it would be like living on an ark full of animals for 40 days or how Noah’s sons chose the wives that they would take with them. Noah lived in a land of sin and was always trying to convert the sinners. I simply thought of him as the man who built the ark and never really place much thought into what he spent his life doing prior to that. He was very much a follower of God. As you can see the book was very thought-provoking for me. I enjoy reading Biblical fiction, especially when the facts of the Bible are brought to life with a little embellishment. I highly recommend this book to you if you enjoy reading Biblical fiction. This is another book to be sure to add to your summer reading list.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book to read from Howard Books. I was not obligated to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.