German writer Weil, in her her first book to be published in English, juxtaposes a personal memoir of grief, illness, age, and insecure identity with a fleshing out of the biblical character of Michal, King David's first wife, for whom he paid ``the bride price'' of murder only to have to flee, banished by Michal's mad father Saul. Weil's own story is hinged around her escape from the Nazis and her husband's capture and death in a concentration camp; she returns after the war to live in Germany, and to perch between the claims of race and intellectual affiliation. Her ambivalence about being Jewish seems finally to color-wash the biblical story she tells here: Michal is an outcast forever horrified at what Jahwe makes men think He wants: blood, intolerance, treachery. Michal's own personal plight--her losses, her childlessness, her loneliness--often rises above the milky political message of ambivalence/paralysis. And the book has impressive gravitas. But, overall, Weil's retelling gets caught up in (and slowed by) what's a snare in biblical narrative itself: the winding genealogies, the webs of names and relations. A curiosity more than anything else.