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The Preservationist Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312328478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312328474
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Visitations from God are a mixed blessing for Noah and his family in Maine's spirited, imaginative debut. Noah (aka "Noe") may have pissed himself upon hearing God's instructions to build an arc, but he sets to the task without delay. He crosses the desert to buy lumber from giants; his eldest, Sem, fetches Cham, the son with shipbuilding skills; Sem's wife, Bera, and Cham's wife, Ilya, gather the animals; and Japheth, Noe's youngest, helps, too, in between goofing off and "rutting" with wife Mirn. And, of course, there's "the wife," 600-year-old Noe's once-teenage bride, who takes everything "Himself" (that's Noe, not God) dishes out with time-tested practicality. Wildly different in temperament, age and provenance, these characters, each telling part of the story, help create a brilliant kaleidoscopic analysis of the situation: the neighbors who ridicule Noe and clan; the inner doubts and shifting alliances; the varying feelings toward God, whose presence is always felt and sometimes resented. The flood comes as a relief from the wondering ("who is crazier: the crazy man or the people who put their faith in him?"), but hardship soon follows. Though the ending is already written, Maine enlivens every step toward it with small surprises. A story of faith and survival (think Life of Pi thousands of years earlier with a much larger cast of characters), this debut is a winner.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Using just a few chapters from Genesis as his base, Maine fleshes out the story of Noah and his ark, making it both realistic--with touches of wry humor--and wondrous. Maine's Noe is an old man, implacable in believing in Yahweh's righteousness even while he is plagued by dreadful dreams. His story is told in the third person, in chapters alternating with first-person accounts by his family members--the unnamed wife and three sons and daughters-in-law: obedient Sem and wife Bera, irreverent Cham and wife Ilya, and exuberant Japheth and wife Mirn-- resulting in multiple views that add richness to the tale. These are full-dimensional characters, the men diligent and the women resourceful; particularly Ilya, but also Bera, show flashes of feminism in gathering animals (dangerous duty) and questioning what Yahweh has wrought. And there's no stinting the reality of almost 18 months on the ark: mucking out dung, confronting ferocious beasts, contending with numbing boredom and understandable spats, and enough rutting (in Maine's words) to make all three young women pregnant. A literary debut that makes a familiar story enthralling. Michele Leber
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I really enjoyed the fresh perspective on a story as old as time.
aeep
This was a quick and easy read, and I find myself hurrying through the pages to find out what happens - even though everyone knows how the story turns out.
D. L. Wycinsky Jr.
The Preservationist, written by David Maine, is a magnificent book to read.
Seth D. Moldoff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Biblical fiction boasts a proud tradition of high literature, perhaps most masterfully seen in Mann's Joseph cycle. Sadly, this fine genre recently seems to have fallen on hard times, now consisting of taking a bible story, adding in a dose of sex and modern sensibility and mixing. Such novels, and they are legion, dilute the power of the original story, offering readers an easily digested mockery.

David Maine, beginning here with his novel "The Preservationist" and continuing with his critically acclaimed tale of Cain, "The Fallen" brings the genre back in the direction of its powerful past. Showing both great respect, thought, and considerable humor, Maine delves into the story of Noah, fleshing out the characters with a sensitive eye towards both the narrative and the reader. Most importantly, while making the characters multidimensional and sympathetic, the novel never tries to white wash to ethical complexity of the Creator destroying most of his creation.

Readers familiar with the biblical account of the flood will recognize that the story includes a heavy dose of family drama. Maine builds on this deftly, creating tension and an engaging thread that binds the story together. Further credit must be given for the author's excellent use of the midrashic stories that surround the biblical text, often to create great humor.

A word must also be said about Maine's excellent use of the character of the Divine. Most biblical fiction either ignores The Creator's central role, a strange betrayal of the original text, or turn the characters into puppets pulled on strings. Far from either of these pitfalls, The Preservationist demonstrates a clever balancing act, turning the story into an interesting and yet strangely familiar tale of the challenges of faith.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In The Preservationist, David Maine takes one of the Old Testament's most fanciful, seemingly allegorical episodes and brings it kicking and bleating to life. Maine takes the story of Noah's ark and dares to fill in the gaps, rendering the logistics of Noah's (or Noe's) feat surprisingly credible while grounding the narrative in fresh, earthy detail. What ultimately makes this novel more than a precarious literary stunt is Maine's deft characterizations--the women, in particular, inject the tale with sly resourcefulness and dry wit. The Preservationist is darkly funny and often irreverent, but its timely themes (which address family, faith, and the very meaning of life) pack a deceptively powerful punch.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Carroll on November 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This novel captured my attention because of the wonderful cover art, one of the best I've seen. Last year, I read the great "Life of Pi" and enjoyed that story so much, I guess I wanted to read a similar novel...spiritual story of people at sea with a bunch of animals. For anyone who loves "The Life of Pi", I recommend checking out this novel.

I've always had a lot of difficulty with the whole Noah's Ark story, because the idea of ancient man creating a big enough boat to hold two of every species on earth for months (plus the constant feeding and waste removal), that a perfect, all knowing God would become angry enough to kill all of His creation save Noah's family instead of punishing only the guilty, along with the idea of the whole earth under water (which would have to cover the peak of Mount Everest) always seemed a bit far fetched to me. It makes an interesting fictional account and I'm glad that a writer was confident enough to sketch out the details of the Biblical story.

What this novel presents is a very interesting character drama, written from different points of view, which I really enjoyed. I found myself liking the women a lot. They were clever thinkers and intelligent, and I especially liked the part about one of them using knowledge of a coming eclipse of the sun to scare a group of thuggish men to follow her lead. The sentences are well crafted and an immense joy to read. My favorite character is Chem, the more independent son of Noe, and the one who struggles the most in his faith, yet dutifully helps in the building of the ark and keeping up the maintenance while they are afloat. He's not a bad guy at all...just doesn't understand what kind of God would do the kind of things to His creation that they all were witness to and saved from.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By madhu m on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
David Maine has produced a modern masterpiece in what is one of the best books of the year so far. The Preservationist (or The Flood in the UK) is the story of Noah told from the perspective of his family, who are variously confounded, angered, excited, nervous or just plain stoic about his Holy orders.

Maine's strength is his stunning portrayal of the women in Noah's life, viz. his wife & three daughter-in-laws. Clearly Maine loves his women and portrays them as storng characters without whom the men would fall apart ion shambles. And most of us know how true that is at any part of time or place.

This is a realistically funny, poignant story told with a great sense of good humour about it, and is bound to be of enormous interest irrespective of whether one is a believer or not. A strong recommendation to anyone interested in literary fiction.
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