Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin Jr.

With an influx of scripture and a nuanced stage of setting and drama, Walter Wangerin Jr’s Naomi and Her Daughters takes us back to Judges: a time and place before most fictional re-tellings of the story of Ruth take place.

Vividly and with a deft grasp of Biblical Knowledge and history, Wangerin weaves the story of Naomi primarily and later of Boaz ( into whose story Ruth becomes a major factor). This book is earthy, erotic, colourful and poetic. Wangerin’s language reflects the best of the psalms: infused with scripture yet with poetic cadences of its own. Its sing-song quality mirrors the story-telling Naomi is so good at.
Those who have a running knowledge of the Biblical story will find it a little easier to understand: especially when it dips into the tribes of Israel, the lineage of King David ( to whom Ruth and Boaz’s son Obed is born and, later, to whom Jesus Christ is born into ) and the customs surrounding Ruth’s appearance on the threshing floor and Boaz’s interposing as Kinsmen Redeemer.

This is a smart, thinking and intelligent take on my favourite Bible story. I often argue that Ruth is the most Romantic book of the Bible: our heroine, a kind-hearted outcasted Moabite follows her mother-in-law beyond the bounds of her own family and history and into the unknown. Leaving behind her religion and tradition she acts in the way she knows is right and the Lord rewards her highly. Any one who has ever acted on conscience and has thought their actions went unnoticed will be inspired by Ruth’s plight, endurance and ultimate happy ending. Her romantic lead, Boaz, is attracted to the light and goodness in Ruth’s heart even while the world scorns and mocks her.
Not every ounce of Christian fiction can find secular appeal; but readers of every faith, religion or no, should lose themselves in Wangerin’s master-craft.

This is poetically and lyrically moving: a wonderful and tense revisit to history.
Readers of Christian and Historical fiction will be mesmerized.
Any one who has tried Orson Scott Card’s Old Testament tales or the Red Tent will enjoy learning more about the customs of Ancient Israel and Old Testament life.
My sincere gratitude to Zondervan for this enlightening experience!

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