Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sinners and the Sea - Review

Kanner, Rebecca. Sinners and the Sea. New York: Howard Books - Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 04/02/2013. Print.


We all know people thought Noah was crazy. A storm coming to flood the whole earth? Yeah, right. That boat you're building is going to save two of every species, including you and your family? Good luck with that. What did his wife think about all this? He would be a tough guy to be married to, for sure.


Rebecca Kanner breathes life into an extremely old tale - that of Noah and his Ark. The fabulous twist is that she tells it from his wife's perspective, a woman the Bible didn't even see fit to assign a name. Using that oversight to her advantage, Kanner weaves a tale of mystery, suspense, shame, regret, bravery, and strife, all around a woman who becomes for us, and herself, the true hero of the story, and ultimately of her own life, proving once again (or maybe from the get-go of human time), that behind every great man stands a much greater (but often overlooked) woman.

Feared and hated in her native village for bearing a facial port-wine stain upon her face, seen as the mark of the Devil, our young female protagonist is an unfortunate burden to the father that loves her. All efforts to find her a husband and send her away for her own safety, fall on fallow ground, until finally crazy old Noah arrives on the scene, looking for a truly virtuous wife, in a land where all are hopeless sinners. Fitting the bill, she goes off with this muttering, dottering, crazy-for-God old man, sure he isn't long for this world. 

And her life is never the same. 

She arcs from a hated, feared, unnamed girl to a fierce, strong, determined woman truly deserving of the name hero. She survives not only Noah, with his determination to follow his God's will, (which involves a crazy scheme to survive a killer storm that will flood the earth), but also the multitudes who would kill for a place on the Ark her family builds, and finally her own offspring, who alternately please, fail and disappoint her, to become mother of the entire human race.

I'd say the girl had one helluva arc.

Rebecca Kanner's writing career is sure to have the same. Sinners and the Sea is written with great, descriptive prose; Kanner captures this time in history with visceral aptitude. We feel for this woman, who tries so very hard, both as a wife and a mother, to fulfill all that is expected of her, even at the expense of her own strength, sanity and heart. We feel connected to her struggle, cheer her small victories, and wish for a happy outcome to the truly arduous life of this unnamed woman. 

Mostly, we root for her to be granted a name.

Genres: historical fiction / mythology / religion / Christian Fiction / biblical / adventure / adult fiction / literary fiction

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