Sinners and the Sea: Book summary and reviews of Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

Sinners and the Sea

The Untold Story of Noah's Wife

by Rebecca Kanner

Sinners and the Sea
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2013
    352 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

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?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kanner animates a harsh, almost dystopic world of fallen people struggling to survive. Noah's unnamed wife is a powerful, memorable character." - Publisher's Weekly

"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." - Kirkus

"Sinners and the Sea is a rare find - a bold and vivid journey into the antediluvian world of Noah. Kanner's is a fresh, irresistible story about the unnamed woman behind the famous ark-builder. Compelling and masterfully written." - Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Books of Mortals series

"We think we know Noah's story but he was not alone on the ark; what was the experience of his wife, his family? Rebecca Kanner's vividly imagined telling recreates the world of the Bible, and asks powerful questions about the story and about ourselves." - Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, author of Why Faith Matters

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Rebecca Kanner's writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award and a Loft Mentorship Award. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review. She is a freelance writer and teaches writing at The Loft in Minneapolis.

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