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The Preservationist
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About the Author

David Maine was born in 1963 and grew up in Farmington, Connecticut. He attended Oberlin College and the University of Arizona, and has worked in the mental health systems of Massachusetts and Arizona. He has taught English in Morocco and Pakistan, and since 1998 has lived in Lahore, Pakistan with his wife, novelist Uzma Aslam Khan.

Reviews

Maine draws on the story of Noah and the flood for a powerful and engaging first novel. Closely following the biblical text (which runs only two pages in most editions), he brings great depth, realism, and psychological subtlety to Noah (or "Noe" as he is called here), his family, and their heroic struggle to survive the flood. Their world is a mysterious and forbidding one, full of ancient cities, exotic beasts, and sin and evil. In one city, for example, the men and women "rut" together in the street, and the dead are left piled up, unburied. Maine is most interested in exploring how Noah's family responds to their cataclysmic ordeal, and he describes the daily rigors and shifting emotions among family members effectively. He also explores issues of faith, doubt, and the nature of God with resourcefulness and courage. Highly recommended.-Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., Manchester, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Visitations from God are a mixed blessing for Noah and his family in Maine's spirited, imaginative debut. Noah (aka "Noe") may have pissed himself upon hearing God's instructions to build an arc, but he sets to the task without delay. He crosses the desert to buy lumber from giants; his eldest, Sem, fetches Cham, the son with shipbuilding skills; Sem's wife, Bera, and Cham's wife, Ilya, gather the animals; and Japheth, Noe's youngest, helps, too, in between goofing off and "rutting" with wife Mirn. And, of course, there's "the wife," 600-year-old Noe's once-teenage bride, who takes everything "Himself" (that's Noe, not God) dishes out with time-tested practicality. Wildly different in temperament, age and provenance, these characters, each telling part of the story, help create a brilliant kaleidoscopic analysis of the situation: the neighbors who ridicule Noe and clan; the inner doubts and shifting alliances; the varying feelings toward God, whose presence is always felt and sometimes resented. The flood comes as a relief from the wondering ("who is crazier: the crazy man or the people who put their faith in him?"), but hardship soon follows. Though the ending is already written, Maine enlivens every step toward it with small surprises. A story of faith and survival (think Life of Pi thousands of years earlier with a much larger cast of characters), this debut is a winner. Agent, Scott Hoffman. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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