Writers and artists have for centuries been using their imaginations to make the Creation and Fall accounts in Genesis come alive for readers. John Milton's Paradise Lost is the most epic and well-known example; others include Perelandra, the second installment of C. S. Lewis's space trilogy, and David Maine's provocative Fallen, from 2006. But what if the story of Adam and Eve were imagined from a - or the - woman's perspective? That's the question Elissa Elliott asks in her 2009 work of literary fiction, Eve: A Novel of the First Woman.
Elliott tells the Genesis story from the perspective of Eve and her three daughters, Naava, Aya, and Dara, who narrate the events of the summer leading up to Cain's murder of Abel. Although the women's voices vary in their believability, Eve's internal monologue as she lives out her curse (Gen. 3:16) adds depth to the sparsely outlined Genesis account. Elliott toys with possibilities, creating family rivalries and another, older civilization with which Eve's family collides to explain the motivation behind Cain's infamous murder. The result is a thought-provoking read.
Elliott, who spent two years at Biola University before receiving a degree in biology and an M.A. in education from UCLA, lives in Minnesota with her husband and child. Eve came out in January from Delacorte Press, and Books & Culture editor John Wilson gave Eve a mini-review here. Her.meneutics editor Ruth Moon sat down with Elliott recently to talk about her faith, women, and her debut novel.
What did you learn by writing from the perspective of Eve?
When I started writing the book, I thought I was going to redeem Eve. I thought I was going to pull her from the depths of obscurity and somehow raise her to a level of humanity. ...1
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