The Preservationist

I just finished reading The Preservationist by David Maine.  It is essentially a dramatic re-imagining of Noah’s story from Genesis.  David Taylor recommended David Maine’s novels as a way of showing and explaining art to pastors.  Interestingly, as far as I know, David Maine is not a Christian.  However, The Preservationist is extremely high quality writing, and I much enjoyed reading it.  It is very raw in style (definitely not for young or “polite” company), and Maine’s portrayal of the story is not romanticized in the least.  Noah (“Noe”) receives visions from Yahweh, and his family is expected to comply with his instructions, no questions asked.  The family dynamics are great, and Maine’s artistic licence is for the most part quite well used.  All possible issues about fictionalizing Scripture aside, I think this was a fairly faithful portrayal of the biblical account.  The characters understandably question the justice of God’s actions, and are generally unsatisfied with Noe’s attempt at theodicy, but in the end they remain largely faithful.  There are a couple of issues near the end which might suggest a questioning of the historical, orthodox interpretation of Genesis (for example, one of the sons’ wife finds really old sea shells in the mountains, suggesting the world might be older than Noe claims), but the large majority of the novel does not conflict with traditional interpretations.  If nothing else, this book is just really high quality literature.  There were quite a few words whose meaning I had to look up, and that doesn’t happen very often in a novel; I was glad I was reading on my Kindle with its handy dictionary feature!  I wouldn’t recommend The Preservationist for everyone to read, but I really did enjoy it.

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