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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My review of Havah by Tosca Lee

About the book:

What was it like to be the first woman on earth, to wake to a brand-new creation---and Adam? Why did she become so beguiled by the serpent? In this lyrical retelling of the biblical narrative, Lee brings Eden to life, revealing the dawn of mankind from Eve's viewpoint! (Contains some mature imagery.)

** my thoughts on the mature imagery. Imagine sexual union the way God intended. It's beautiful and Havah will show you just how far we have strayed from what God saw as delightful union between man and wife.

What Publisher's Weekly had to say about Havah in this starred review:

Lee surprised the evangelical Christian literary world with her acclaimed Demon: A Memoir. Her fans will be equally pleased with her newest, a passionate and riveting story of the Bible's first woman and her remarkable journey after being cast from paradise. Havah, Adam's chosen name for Eve, recounts her life from a singular vantage point. From having known only blissful innocence, she must struggle through every post-Garden moment. Frustration compounds her plight as she repeatedly attempts to regain her former idyllic existence and repeatedly fails. Havah's life becomes a fight for survival once she and Adam are cast from the Garden, and Lee's poetic prose beautifully depicts the couple's slow surrender to a world tending to destruction. Havah gives birth, raises a brood of children, watches one son kill another, observes disease and death. Yet all the while, she waits for the fulfillment of "the One" (God) who will bring reconciliation and redemption through her seed. Lee's superior storytelling will have readers weeping for all that Havah forfeited by a single damning choice.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Okay, so now you've got the book description and the Publisher's Weekly info, so here is my review of Havah!

My review:

Havah contains such beautiful imagery that I was literally entranced while reading the story. I was in the Garden with Eve. I was Eve. It's amazing how Tosca does that with her writing. Her choice of first person POV and keeping the reader in that one perspective all through the story was brilliant! I loved her book, Demon, but this is even better. I know, hard to imagine. But like with Demon, Havah puts a personal touch on matters of faith. You will think about what the fall means in a whole new way. You will see just how sin destroyed all that God created. Havah is written with such passion and conviction you will glimpse into the heart of "the One Who is" and will understand how much He truly delighted in the creation of man and His communion with him. The emotional pull of this story is truly divine. When Havah cried for Adonai and tried to find him after the fall, it moved my heart. I know just how she felt.

Have you ever thought about the whole temptation thing and the fruit on the tree and thought, "Big deal. So she ate an apple. I don't get it." You ponder the disobedience that occurred, but still go back to, "What was it about that tree that was so alluring?" Maybe I'm the only one who asks these questions, but I'll bet I'm not. Havah portrays the temptation that Adam and Eve experienced in such an amazing and believable fashion that I will never see things the way I did before. It was a whole lot more than a piece of fruit. While the author had to expound on the few paragraphs in the Scriptures that describes Adam and Even and their experiences, every aspect of the story is doctrinally sound. It lines up with the nature of God and the themes throughout the Bible.

Can you imagine the horror when they realized exactly what they had done? And then there is the blame and betrayal, "It was the woman you gave me." One of the most powerful lines in Havah is very short. It's simply, "We die." But the impact I felt surrounding those words was incredible.

And think about Cain and Abel. We know that Cain killed him after he offered to God a sacrifice that didn't please "the One Who is". But I'd never really thought about why it didn't please God. I'd also never considered the horror Havah would've felt the moment she realized that the ultimate sin (murder) had occurred in her own home. And to not lose just the one son to death, but also the other when he fled. The imagery surrounding their clan, family dynamics, and the conflicts they had was all done so incredibly well it took my breath away. It's impossible to not cry when this story ends. Tosca's powerful use of language is very moving and the ending is perfectly written. I stand amazed.

I could go on and on about how much I love this story, but it's hard to put into words exactly how it effected me. The authors use of the English language is amazing and the imagery she creates from everyday words is beyond what I've ever read before. She even had cleverly placed words that I'd rarely seen in books. This is not a novel for people who like simple stuff. This is the deeply spiritual memoir of Eve. Thankfully we know how the story ends.

Havah was published by NavPress and was released in October 2008.


Alyce said...

I'm glad you liked it so much. I have this one on my shelf and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Lindsey said...

Wonderful review! I really should get ahold of this book, you've convinced me. :-)

God bless!

Anonymous said...

It's on my reading list. I just finished Demon this week. She's an amazing writer.

Carole said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this review, Michelle. I have this book and plan on starting it after Christmas. Now I look forward to it even more.

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