Reviews for Sinners and the Sea : The Untold Story of Noah's Wife

Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
Noah and his wife take on a boatload of animals and family members--and the close quarters lead to situations that would try the patience of Job…but that's another story. Kanner's debut novel is based on the Old Testament story of Noah's wife, an unnamed woman who's been shunned since birth for the mark of a demon, a raspberry birthmark, she bears on her forehead. Her mother is long gone, but her father does his best to shield her from harm and arranges for his 19-year-old daughter to marry Noah, a taciturn man dedicated to preaching about the God of Adam. He takes his wife to Sorum, the town of exiles, where prostitutes, murderers and others sinners run rampant. Old Noah's sight and hearing aren't what they used to be, but he's surprisingly frisky for a more than 600-year-old man. He sires three sons: Shem, who often clings to his mother; Japheth, who prefers fighting to settle scores; and Ham, the funny son with the sharp wit whom his mother favors. Noah's wife also develops a fondness for Herai, a young girl with mental limitations. She tries to convince Noah that Herai will be a good match for one of their sons, but Noah, fearing that his grandchildren will be similarly afflicted, refuses to permit the marriage. When Noah claims that God is sending a flood to destroy mankind and has chosen his family to build an ark, ride out the storm while tending to the animals they are tasked with saving, and repopulate the Earth once the floodwaters have receded, he's the subject of ridicule in the community. But the family does as Noah instructs, and as the rains begin, they embark on their voyage. Sibling rivalries become more pronounced aboard the vessel now that each brother has a wife (Ona, Herai and Zilpha), and their mother proves her strength and character as she tries to protect her family from each and from the outside forces that threaten. Kanner successfully undertakes a formidable task retelling a familiar religious story through the eyes of Noah's wife. The narrative's well-articulated, evenly balanced and stimulating--but it's definitely not the familiar tale that's so frequently illustrated in children's books. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #3

Debut novelist Kanner brings to life the nameless wife of Noah in a deeply imagined midrashic interpretation of the biblical story of the flood. A girl is born with a mark on her forehead, likely a port wine birthmark, that all around her fear is the mark of a demon. No one wants to marry her until she is claimed as a bride by the 600-year-old Noah, a man who believes in the "God of Adam," wants sons, and wants to bring to God the wicked people of Sorum, a town populated by prostitutes and mercenaries. Noah and his growing family live in tension with Sorum's sinners, until the God of Adam commands the building of an ark and the gathering of animals onto it before it rains and rains. Though her pacing occasionally drags, Kanner animates a harsh, almost dystopic world of fallen people struggling to survive. Noah's unnamed wife is a powerful, memorable character. Agent: Carolyn Jenks, Carolyn Jenks Agency. (Apr.)

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