Tuesday, May 27, 2014

G366 Book Review of Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

Name of Book: Sinners and the Sea

Author: Rebecca Kanner

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9523-6

Publisher: Howard Books

Type of book: Biblical, prophecy, family, humanity, story of Noah and the flood, PME ancient times, accepting self, sinning, ancient times

Year it was published: 2014


In the spirit of Anita Diamant, this ambitious and unforgettable novel about the story of Noah blends Biblical history, mythology, and the inimitable strength of women.

Cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, the young heroine in The Sinners and the Sea is deprived even of a name for fear that it would make it easier for people to spread lies about her. But this virtuous woman has the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories live anew.

Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a land of outcasts. Noah, a 600-year-old paragon of virtue, rises to the role of preacher to a town full of sinners. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons, but is faced with the hardship of living with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than with her. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite a pious upbringing, have developed some sinful tendencies of their own. But her trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world.

Kanner weaves a masterful tale that breathes new life into one of the Bible’s voiceless characters. Through the eyes of Noah’s wife we see a complex world where the lines between righteousness and wickedness blur. And we are left wondering: Would I have been considered virtuous enough to save?


The main character is Noah's wife who happens to be without a name. In beginning she is best described as timid, frightened, shy and tries her best to fight whatever destiny has in store for her. She and her father are best described as liars when they tell Noah that they worship God of Adam. Noah is painted darkly. Unfortunately he really reminds me of someone I'd rather forget, although the author does try to make the reader have compassion for Noah. Shem is best described as promiscuous and a playboy, while Japheth is described as someone who worships and wants to become like Noah, and Ham is carefree. Surprisingly, it is the wife and Ham that seem to be the most likable characters for me.


Strength comes from within and sometimes the things you hate can save you


The book is written in first person narrative completely from Noah's wife's point of view. I do admit that when it comes to Shem, Ham,  Japheth and Noah the author was a bit harsh, and I also thought that it was Shem Ham and Japheth instead of Shem Japheth followed by Ham. The story is linear and its amazing at how many points she was able to fill in. What I find interesting though is the gray area between right and wrong, and also that sometimes the righteous people seem, well, annoying. (At this point I am wondering if she had met many people who tried to convert her to christianity? I knew of one and oh boy extremely annoying and seemed to lack human element...)

Buy the Book

Author Information:

About the Author

Sinners and the Sea is Rebecca Kanner’s debut novel. Rebecca is a Twin Cities native and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award, a Loft mentorship Award and a 2012/2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. Her personal essay, “Safety,” is listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review.
Along with other authors including Anita Diamant, Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks and Ron Hansen, Rebecca will be featured in the upcoming title Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists.
You can learn more about Rebecca, and find links to selected stories and essays, at www.rebeccakanner.com. You can also find her onFacebook and Twitter.


Like many readers, I wasn't familiar with the story of Noah's wife, beyond her being mentioned in Tanakh oh so briefly. Maybe its me as well, but there also wasn't mention of the names of Noah's son's wives for that matter. (If they are mentioned, can I be given a verse and a chapter to where they are mentioned?) Part of me worried that Sinners and the Sea will be very similar to The Red Tent, which I didn't like at all. But in this case, I was worried for nothing because instantly I was pulled into an amazing story before Abraham and Sarah and before Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Rachel and Leah. I really wish that The Red Tent by Anita Diamant would have been written the way this book was written.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14
Review & Giveaway at West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, April 15
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, April 17
Review at A Bookish Girl
Friday, April 18
Review at Reading the Ages
Monday, April 21
Review at Booktalk & More
Review at Judith Starkston
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Friday, April 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, April 28
Review at JulzReads
Tuesday, April 29
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Wednesday, April 30
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, May 2
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, May 5
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 6
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, May 7
Review at Ink Sugar Blog
Friday, May 9
Review at Our Wolves Den
Monday, May 12
Review at The Calico Critic
Tuesday, May 13
Review at From L.A. to LA
Wednesday, May 14
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 15
Spotlight at The Tower of Babel
Friday, May 16
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, May 19
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 21
Review at My Reader’s Block
Friday, May 23
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Tuesday, May 27
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 29
Review at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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