The Preservationist: A Novel

The Preservationist: A Novel

by David Maine
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The Preservationist: A Novel by David Maine

"Noe says, -I must build a boat.
-A boat, she says.
-A ship, more like. I'll need the boys to help, he adds as an afterthought.
-We're leagues from the sea, she says, or any river big enough to warrant a boat.
This conversation is making Noe impatient. -I've no need to explain myself to you.
-And when you're done, she says carefully, we'll be taking this ship to the sea somehow?
As usual, Noe's impatience fades quickly. -We'll not be going to the sea. The sea will be coming to us."

In this brilliant debut novel, Noah's family (or Noe as he's called here)-his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law-tell what it's like to live with a man touched by God, while struggling against events that cannot be controlled or explained. When Noe orders his sons to build an ark, he can't tell them where the wood will come from. When he sends his daughters-in-law out to gather animals, he can offer no directions, money, or protection. And once the rain starts, they all realize that the true test of their faith is just beginning. Because the family is trapped on the ark with thousands of animals-with no experience feeding or caring for them, and no idea of when the waters will recede. What emerges is a family caught in the midst of an extraordinary Biblical event, with all the tension, humanity-even humor-that implies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429906906
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,145,077
File size: 289 KB

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.

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. He is the author of books including Monster, 1959 and The Book of Samson.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book could have been great, the author seemed to enjoy adding sexual details and poorly disguised cursing. It reminded me of a good stand up comic who throws in bathroom humor out of habit or to satisfy the management. This book will go in the trash, not the share with a friend pile.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
When I found this book in a used book store, it was a "must read. The dust jacket is unique in that a boat appears to be floating on the top edge of the jacket. This particular boat is revealed to be Noah’s ark, as he is the preservationist to whom the title refers.  Seeing Noah as a preservationist is so obvious that I had not considered that of him as I had seen him as “only” a righteous man who obediently followed the commands given him by his God.  Mr. Maine does not discount Noah’s faithfulness; rather his treatment of this story only deepens the truths revealed in this familiar Old Testament story. Told in three parts and from the points-of-view of the members of Noah’s family, this common story unfolds as new.    Mr. Maine uses an obscure edition of the Bible for spelling, seeing the names so acquainted with this story spelled in unfamiliar way helps to make the story “new.” Beginning shortly after Noah receives the command to build an ark, the book is revealed in a steady, even pace, allowing the reader to experience more closely how this event had to have “occurred.”   How Noah’s wife, sons and his daughters-in-law responded to this strange event is very human.  Each is heard responding to their respective roles and are seen evolving as their world, literally, is remade.  Noah’s wife, who is 540 years his junior, is seen as steady, faithful and hardworking but is never given a name in this story.    Sem, the eldest son, is rock steady, mirrors his father’s following of Yahweh but seems to have little concept of a Self outside of his familial home. Cham, the second son, is the boat-builder and “prodigal,” who returns home because he is compelled to do so. Japheth, the youngest, whose response to the situation reflects his birth order and his age (about 15 when the rain starts).  The daughters-in-law are put in charge of gathering the animals while the men build the ark.  The faithful acts of these women are rewarded with profound success; this is remarkable in that their faith was in obedience to Noah’s direction, not necessarily to Noah’s God. The book addressed questions raised should one ever deeply ponder this story.  The answers will satisfy some, enrage others but each incident is feasible.  The ten months spent on a boat with the world’s largest (and first) animal menagerie and in constant, CLOSE, contact with everyone else on the vessel is seen to be as horrendous as imagined.  Conversations about Yahweh’s destruction of a world he created are treated realistically – can Yahweh be trusted to care for Creation – Yahweh will always decide what is best – Yahweh will provide what is needed to complete what Yahweh commands – are all points of conversation somewhere in the years around the Flood.  The concern parents have around how to raise children who will leave to become productive members of society while hoping the relationship will be strong enough for those children to return to visit their aged parents, not letting them die alone and forsaken is addressed in as personal way as possible.  The question of "What will ‘the next generation’ do with the world when it is their turn to create it in line with their dreams?" is reduced to its barest answer within the pages of the book. Mr. Maine writes the book “as if” it is a historical event.  This is not a theological treatise, a book of history, nor is it a sociological reflection yet each of those issues enfolded within this work.  .
BigBrad77 More than 1 year ago
Okay, I'm not generally a fan of the "let's retell an old story" style of writing, but this was really really good. Funny, for one thing, but also moving in places (after all, the whole dies, almost). There's a little sex and grit which were a surprise at first until you think, well, it's about the end of the world, right? And its repopulation. So a little sex and grit makes some sense. My only criticism is that I wish it were longer, but tha's not really a criticism, so, 5 stars!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In The Preservationist, David Maine takes one of the Old Testament's most fanciful, seemingly allegorical episodes and brings it kicking and bleating to life. Maine revisits the story of Noah's ark and dares to fill in the gaps, rendering the logistics of Noah's (or Noe's) feat surprisingly credible while grounding the narrative in fresh, earthy detail. What ultimately makes this novel more than a precarious literary stunt, though, are Maine's deft characterizations--the women, in particular, inject the tale with sly resourcefulness and dry wit. The Preservationist is darkly funny and often irreverent, but its timely themes (which address faith, family and the very meaning of life) pack a deceptively powerful punch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a little hesitant to read this book, even though it was recommended by a friend who¿s a Christian, and has great taste in books. I wondered what more anyone could possibly say about one of my all-time favorite stories: Noah¿s Ark. Turns out I didn¿t have to worry at all. David Maine takes all of the characters in this familiar story and makes them REAL. From Noah (who Maine calls Noe) to his three sons Sem, Cham and Japheth (whom you might know as Shem, Ham, and Japheth from a different printing of the Bible than Maine used), the author gives each of the men in the story a distinct personality. But where this book really shines is in David Maine¿s portrayal of the women of the story. If it¿s true that behind every great man there stands a great woman, then Noe¿s wife, and his three daughters-in-law Bera, Ilya, and Mirn (whose names Maine invents) are four of the greatest women in history. I could gush on and on about this book¿about how the author amplifies and illuminates the story in the Bible at every turn, but I won¿t. I¿ll just say you have to read it and discover the joy for yourself. If you liked The Red Tent, you¿ll love The Preservationist¿and the great thing about The Preservationist is that your husband or boyfriend will love it too.