by (Poet) Sarah Blake

Book, 2019



Call number




New York, NY Riverhead Books, 2019


Meet Naamah, Noah's wife, the matriarch who kept her family alive as they drifted on an endless sea. Here is a woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. In fresh and modern language, Blake revisits the story of the Ark that rescued life on earth, and rediscovers the agonising burdens endured by the woman at the heart of the story. Naamah is a parable for our time: a provocative fable of body, spirit, and resilience.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lauralkeet
Naamah, a feminist reimagining of the Noah’s Ark story, is the kind of thing I normally like. Take a well-known tale, tell it from a woman’s perspective, and challenge the patriarchal view of the original story -- and I’m in. When done well, as in Madeline Miller’s Circe or Margaret
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Atwood’s The Penelopiad, these books are a joy to read. Sadly, Naamah doesn’t measure up and I had to abandon it.

The book started off well. Naamah is a pragmatist, making sure the ark is built to withstand what is to come. She questions a God who would decide to wipe out the civilization they created. She advises her sons and their wives not to have sex on the ark, because they don’t know how long they will be living there and the ark is no place to raise a child. It’s difficult enough dealing with animal reproduction.

But soon, the story becomes disjointed, with too many threads and, dare I say it, too much sex. I like a good sex scene as much as the next person, but the author seemed to rely heavily on these scenes to keep the reader engaged. Between these scenes and Naamah’s strange encounters when swimming in the waters, I lost the will to go on.
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LibraryThing member DonnaMarieMerritt
The premise is great—a Noah's Ark view from his wife, Naamah. Some of it was insightful, but mostly it was just weird. Okay, she has dreams that are kind of odd, but I can live with that. Not being able to see (spoiler alert) the animals? I didn't get it, but I can live with that also. Having sex
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(spoiler alert) with angels and her daughter-in-law and maybe God? Not sure what that had anything to do with the story other than making Naamah seem like a nymphomaniac.
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