NAAMAH by Sarah Blake
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A retelling of Noah’s Ark centered around Noah’s wife, Naamah—the woman who helped reshape the world with her hands.

“When someone dies and you forget how they look or how they laughed, that is how they forgot the land.” So begins the story of Naamah, Noah, and their family after the Great Flood. In the wake of the devastation, the family must grapple with the world they’ve left behind, survive their current reality, and prepare for the future. Headstrong and protective, Naamah struggles while on the ark: with caring for the animals, missing the land, losing her lover (and friend), and questioning her faith. Naamah’s inability to trust God or his plan pulses through the novel. She can’t understand why everything had to die, why Noah and she were chosen to repopulate the Earth, or what will happen when (or if) the waters recede. Naamah does not possess blind faith; she is angry and distrustful of Him and what He has done and can do. While discussing motherhood with one of her son’s wives, she asks herself if God fully understands the ramifications of what he’s done: “Naamah wonders if God has considered this: women so distrustful of Him that they might never bear children for the new world.” Blake’s writing is deeply feminist. Whether she's focused on giving birth or having sex, Blake sketches the female body and experience in all its gore and glory. In the biblical tradition, reality, dreams, and visions blur and bleed together. Naamah enters other people's dreams, spirits visit her on Earth, and she spends hours exploring beneath the floodwaters. Comprised of mesmerizing prose poem–esque sections, the novel explores themes of sexuality, purpose, loss, love, and faith.

A poetic debut of biblical proportions.

Pub Date: April 9th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-53633-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2019


FictionTHE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake
by Sarah Blake
FictionGRANGE HOUSE by Sarah Blake
by Sarah Blake


FictionSINNERS AND THE SEA by Rebecca Kanner
by Rebecca Kanner
NonfictionTHE ARK BEFORE NOAH by Irving Finkel
by Irving Finkel