By: T.K. Thorne
Reviewed by: Perle Champion
Chalet Publishers, 2009
In Noah’s Wife, consummate storyteller T.K. (Teresa) Thorne takes us back to 5500 BCE. Here we meet Noah’s future wife. Born to a mother who dies giving her life, Na’amah is a beautiful girl with peculiarities. She sees the colors and patterns of words overlaid with the color of their truth.
Betrothed to Noah, she learns the precarious place of women in a society turning away from Mother Goddess and Father God as a unit, toward an austere patriarchal view of deity. Na’amah does not believe in Goddess or God, because she cannot see them. She cannot say this aloud; she would be pitted.
All transgressors are “pitted”—thrown into a deep well in the market square, shunned, and left to die without food, water, or clothing. Her fear grows when someone is pitted for thinking of Mother Goddess when it has been decreed that now there is only Father God.
Na’amah’s peculiarities fit smoothly with the story. It gives her an outsider’s perspective for this first person narrative, which reads much like a personal journal. As she matures, she tells herself, “I wish I could just sit and rock and sing like when I was a child, but I am a woman now, and I cannot.” Her pain is universal as she realizes she must grow up and face her demons or lose what is most precious to her.
She wants only to be Noah’s wife and tend her sheep. Reaching that goal takes her on a tortuous path. Ruthlessly raped on the eve of her wedding, she runs away and gets captured by another tribe as a gift for their king, and that is just the beginning—to tell more is to spoil your enjoyment.
As with Na’amah, all of Thorne’s characters are believable people with traits we recognize in ourselves and others—endearing, abhorrent, exasperating, and often surprising.
Many stories of the Bible come to us over thousands of years, told and retold until the scholar writes them down. How much of the original tale makes it to the page? How much is edited away as extraneous?
Too often women are left out of history or they appear as footnotes. Not since Mists of Avalon or Ahab’s Wife have I enjoyed such a finely crafted woman’s point of view on an oft-told tale. Here, the nameless woman who bore Noah’s children has a name. Here we have the story imagined as it could have been, and who can say for sure. Nov 2009
Perle Champion is a freelance writer and artist.