If you and I have ever talked about books, you know I have always proudly proclaimed that I’m not much of a fiction person. Oh, I appreciate the classics, and have written a number of works myself fiction over the years (kids’ stories, plays and skits), but I’ve not been grabbed by much contemporary fiction of either the CBA or ABA variety. Every once in a while, a brilliant book cuts through the chatter and silliness and reminds me that sometimes fiction is the best way of all to tell the truth.
Tosca Lee’s Havah: The Story Of Eve is one of those books. Lee traces the story of Eve with some of the most lovely, stunning prose you’ll ever find in a CBA title:
The adam tried to hold me, but I pushed him away. He pulled me gently back – now I could feel the tremor in his hands – and lifted the leaves from my face. Perhaps with a vestige of that understanding that needed no words – or of my guilt in all its multifaceted forms – he lowered it to my waist and tied it there, so that the leaves hung over those parts stained by our use of each other.
I wept to see our industry, so joyously applied in gifts and tokens, in experiments and invention, given to such purpose. When the adam had made a similar covering for himself, he pulled me to him, hard against his chest. He did it, I knew, not to comfort me but himself, as he lowered his head to my breast.
I held him in silence. We did not know the language for sorrow or apology. We had no words for forgiveness, for it had never been needed.
I met Lee briefly last spring at the Mt. Hermon writers conference, and watched her putting in long, hard hours editing the manuscript for this book as a publisher’s deadline loomed. I could sense the intensity of the task before her – the intensity carried a spiritual dimension to it that overshadowed the nuts and bolts of line editing text.
When I read the finished product, I understood why.
Though we only have the essence of Eve’s story in Scripture, those early chapters of Genesis are the launch pad for the story we all now find ourselves in. Lee’s “fiction” somehow doesn’t feel like make-believe at all. She told the truth about me, you, all of us, with her story – and I was left with a deep ache for which I had no words by the time I finished the book. Homesickness, perhaps…or maybe just a longing for redemption.
Even if you’re a fiction hater, I highly commend this book to you. And if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.