Sunday, February 7, 2016

DNF Review: Noah's Wife

Noah’s Wife
by Lindsay Starck

Why did you choose this book? the obvious reference to the Noah Story
When did you read this book? December 2015
Who should read this book? readers willing to stick with a book
Source: Penguin First To Read
Here is a synopsis of Noah’s Wife from Goodreads

Mary McGarry Morris says it best: “Noah’s Wife may be a contemporary allegory, but Lindsay Starck is a classic storyteller…her novel is an engrossing fusion of wisdom and beautiful writing.” Noah’s Wife is a gorgeously written, brilliantly introspective fable-like novel.

Noah’s Wife is a story of a community battered by a relentless downpour from the heavens, a gray and wet little town teeming with eccentric characters who have learned to endure the extraordinary circumstances of the rain with astonishing human fortitude and willfulness.

When Noah’s wife arrives with her minister husband to this small coastal town, she is driven by her desire to help revive the congregation. However, she is thwarted by the resistance of her eccentric new neighbors and her failure to realize that her husband is battling his own internal crisis.

As Noah and his wife strive to bring the townspeople to the church—and keep the strains on their marriage at bay—the rain intensifies, impeding their efforts. Soon the river waters rise, flooding the streets of the town and driving scores of wild animals out of the once-renowned zoo. And so, Noah, his wife, and the townspeople must confront the savage forces of nature and attempt to reinforce the fragile ties that bind them to each other before their world is washed away.

Full of whimsy and gentle ironic humor, Noah’s Wife is a wise and poignant novel that draws upon the motifs of the biblical flood story to explore the true meaning of community, to examine the remarkable strength of the human spirit, and to ask whether hope can exist even where faith has been lost.

My Review

I saw this one offered through Penguin’s First To Read program. I picked it up for a couple of reasons. First, I really like the cover! But I also liked the tie-in to the Noah story from the Bible. Even more interesting was the fact that I started in on it right after Christmas, when our part of the country was being deluged by record-setting rainfall! So the opening resonated with me.

In the beginning it was not raining, but it is raining now — and steadily!
It has been raining for so long that even though it has not always been raining the townspeople begin to feel as though this is the case — as though the weather has always been this way, the sky this gray, the puddles this profound.

However, unfortunately, I was never really able to get into this story. The chapters were very short and felt like a string of character sketches. In this respect it reminded me a little of a book I read in high school, Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. It was hard to see how the characters were tied together. While I did start sensing the story was coming together, after about 100 pages, I still wasn’t feeling it. There is a whole stack of books here calling my name, and I gave up on it. That was about ⅓ of the book, so I don’t feel bad giving up, but I don’t feel like I can fairly rate this book.  Other readers have given it great reviews, so I suggest you check some of those out before casting this one aside.

My Rating:  DNF

I received an advanced review copy of this book through the Penguin First To Read program.

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  1. A DNF is always disappointing, especially when you think it's something you will really like.

  2. Sometimes a book isn't the right one for you. It just doesn't speak to you. I'm always all for not finishing if it's not the right time or the right book. I thought the story of this one sounded interesting too - for the same reasons. I'll likely try it at some point.

    1. You may enjoy it. It seems most readers do. And the truth is — I might enjoy it at a different time. Sometimes it's not the book; it's my mood at the time I pick it up!