Thursday, January 28, 2010
Havah: The Story of Eve (Book Review)
To start off, I think I'll sum things up easily by stating this: Havah took my breath away. If that sounds a bit romantic, it's because I meant it to. Not the clique kind of romantic, but the awe-inspiring, fearful romance between a creation and its creator. Havah is a beautiful novel written about God's love, His desire for a relationship with His Creation, and the agony of our relationship with Him being broken because of our own disobedience.
The story begins with Eve being created from Adam. Written in first person, the novel does a beautiful job of portraying Eve as she is birthed into existence. I'm not sure how challenging it must have been for Tosca to write from this angle, but she most definitely did an excellent job and it is this simple fact alone that marks her as a truly talented writer.
Eve runs through the garden in fellowship with the One, falls in love with the creation that came before her, Adam, and lives in wonder at the very world that God created for the two of them. Adam and Eve are able to communicate with each other, with the wildlife, and with God without speaking, the thoughts of all understood clearly, without deception or misunderstanding. The world at this time is truly one of bliss. No sin. No violence. Nothing but love and fellowship with each other and the One.
It broke my heart while I was reading these parts because I knew what was coming next in the story. I knew that they were going to rebel against God's direct orders and that the fellowship with God was going to be broken. Eve and Adam partake in the fruit that the serpent - beautifully illustrated as an intelligent and sly creature - gives them and fall into death. What was once a beautiful garden now becomes a wild place that teems with violence and brutality, chasing Adam and Eve out of the paradise that God created specifically for them.
The story is then propelled into Adam and Eve's relationship with each other, which takes a rough turn after their banishment from the garden and with the hostility of the land and the wildlife they have now been thrust into. They have children, and the story goes on to explain the heartaches of the garden they left behind, the children that are now populating the earth and the chronic pitfalls they encounter with the cursed land. The story expands into Cain and Abel, referenced in the novel as Kayin and Hevel, and the birth of murder.
Tosca really put her heart and soul into this novel. The Bible only explains so much about Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden of Eden and how the world is populated, but Tosca put so much fine effort into filling in the gaps in her own speculative way. I have to say this was truly a story that broke my heart at times and took my breath away at others. I was able to relate to Adam and Eve in a manner of existence, knowing that they were the ones that all life was created from, knowing that God had so much more in mind for them and for us. Their struggles are really no different than the struggles we encounter nowadays: murder, anger, greed, idolatry and lust.
During the novel, the expanse that looms between Adam and Eve as they succumb to their new destiny parallels the expanse that clearly grew between God and us when these events occurred. The silence, the embarrassment and shame of sin, stains the pages of the novel as it does the very core of our own hearts and I couldn't help but feel a sense of fear at some points...fear of what would have happened if God hadn't eventually sent His son to save us from an eternity of misery and broken fellowship with Him.
I am proud to give this book my own set of five stars. Granted, I usually enjoy reading a good science fiction/fantasy or action novel, but Tosca really pulled on my heart strings and, in her own style, drew me closer to realizing God's true character and what He always wanted for us. This is the perfect book for a Bible study group or book club.
I look forward to reading and reviewing another one of Tosca's novels, Demon: A Memoir, in the coming months.
To find out more about Havah: The Story of Eve check out http://www.havahstoryofeve.com
For more on Tosca Lee, check out her official website at http://www.toscalee.com