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In the Shadow of the Ark

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  568 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
THE RED TENT meets GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING in the profoundly moving tale of a young woman who survives the flood as a stowaway on Noah's Ark.

"And every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth..."

When ReJana and her family reach the desert plain where the great ship is being constructed, the world has already begun to change. The wa
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published 2001)
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Pretty funny (and telling) that looking through the reviews of this, almost all of them are by women. Midrash-like chick lit? I suppose, but this book definitely has some depth. It sucked me in, and really interestingly delved into the "other people's shoes" dimension about what it was like for those "on the other side of the ark," so to speak, in the Noah's ark story. Raises some pretty salient and discomfiting questions about justice as the ark is being built, and pretty fascinating imaginings ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Josiah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written as well as most fiction on ancient history, but the author uses it as a pulpit to declaim the Tanakh/Bible with popular atheist diputations; in the process of pointing out all the "obvious" fallacies in the Tanakh's version of the Great Flood, the author displays her own lack of knowledge about factual history, not to mention what the Tanakh actually says.

In addition to the narration of events, the author chooses to depict every character traditionally seen as "good" as a l
Feb 13, 2012 Darla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This a not the story of Noah you have read in the bible. It is very loosely based upon it--it includes an ark and Noah's family-- but is very clearly a piece of fiction. That said, I enjoyed the book up to the last 75 pages when it took a very bizarre turn. I won't give away the details but will say there were multiple rapes and a suicide, among other very odd events. It felt as though another author suddenly started writing. The whole tone and tenor of the book changed, and not for the good. I ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Phair rated it did not like it
Very weird book. Maybe having been translated from Dutch accounts for the 'foreign' feeling of the story. Did not like any of the characters. Noah & his family were all creepy-definitely seemed more pre biblical than Old Testament. It was all violent & dirty & the ark building & 'rescue' from the flood seemed more a punishment than a salvation. No green pastures & plenty at the end of the journey- just mud & flies and desolation and familial disintegration. A real downer. ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could get past feeling like someone is retelling the Bible to fit their needs and wants...

I'd really like to like this book, but it was just ok.
De Arkvaarders is misschien wel het enige, goede, realistische 'Noach & de Zondvloed' verhaal wat er is.

But laat ik eerlijk zijn: die 3 sterren zijn er in het echt maar 2,5 . Dit rond het naar boven af omdat het boek beter dan 'oke' is, maar ik moet eerlijk zeggen dat ik verhaal niet altijd even sterk vond. Vooral na de 2e helft werd het verhaal vrij vermoeiend en verwarrend, wat mijn leesplezier nogal temperde.
Ook de karakters zelf vond ik tegenvallen. Re Jana, Cham, Neelata, Noach: ni
Althea Ann
Following on the commerical success of Anita Diamant's 'The Red Tent,' publishers have struck on Belgian author Anne Provoost's retelling of the story of Noah's Ark as their next great hope...
However, although it does tell a Biblical story from the perspective of a young woman, in many ways the two are not very similar books.
Where 'Red Tent' is in many ways a very historical, 'how it might have been' kind of tale, Provoost is more concerned with the mythic and especially the allegorical elements
Lacey Louwagie
Jun 12, 2008 Lacey Louwagie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy retold Biblical stories, airmchair theologians
So, interesting story about this book. I saw it at a book sale and was like, "Cool, a Noah's Ark book!", and since I had a thing for Noah's ark when I was a kid, I bought it. The author's name sounded familiar to me but I couldn't put my finger on it. It wasn't until I saw the same book on my uncle Vincent's bookshelf in Mexico that I realized Anne is one of my cousins that live in Belgium. So I decided to read this book before going to Belgium in case I might get the chance to meet Anne. Anne w ...more
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A retelling of the biblical story of the flood and Noah's Ark, this vivid and dramatic novel with its historical setting and broad cast of interconnected characters is reminiscent of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent (St. Martins, 1997). Re Jana and her family -- a carpenter father and stroke-disabled mother -- travel to the desert, where they discover a ship surrounded by sand and a city to support its creation. Unsure if they believe the rumor that the world is to be destroyed by water, the father ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Mai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bizarre and intensely dislikable book. It's been a while since I read it but I do remember that it didn't make much sense and that the end was really, really weird. In fact, it's a measure of how much this book aggravated me that about six years after reading it, I spent half an hour searching for it even though I couldn't remember the title or the author's full name, just to give it a bad review!

I really wouldn't recommend it just in case you had any doubts. The main character is simp
Sep 05, 2013 Leeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was very troubled after reading this book 6 or so years ago, but a random thought had me remembering it, so I spent the time searching for this until now.

I did not like it. For a book that is shelved for young adults in the library, I felt in my 14/15 year old age the mature ominous content was too much for me then. Maybe it is just my own preference, or tendency to hold back on this more mature book for juvenile minds but I would not give this book to any young child.

The rape scenes were horr
May 22, 2012 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, religion
Read because of her interview in Bill Moyers' Faith and Reason series. This started well and was interesting, but there were some really weird parts towards the end. It's interesting to extrapolate a big story from a few passages in the Old Testament, but I like the idea of adapting ancient history and myth into terms that we can understand. The OT is just a bizarre piece of work and hard for me to gain any kind of wisdom or comfort from, but fascinating from a cultural perspective. I know from ...more
Sianne Morrison
I enjoyed this book, although it was at times strange, but this may have something to do with translating issues. I am not big one the whole Noah's Ark story, but this was an interesting idea/twist with the way the "Chosen Ones" (Noah's family) dealt with their status, problems and delemas. On one level the way the Chosen Ones happily raped people, treated their people with contempt and disgust, abused people - including their own, and took on concubines, was contradictory and certainly not the ...more
Maya Rock
Jul 27, 2007 Maya Rock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't want to give the wrong impression with my "good sex scene" shelf. Maybe more like "notable."

In this bizarre but wonderful book, this girl who is supposed to be from an African tribe, joins up with biblical Noah and his three sons. Then she falls in love with one of them. Then this is the bizarre part, I guess she has some kind of amazing talent to find clean water and then she is like this professional masseuse and always uses these great oils. Later she lands on the boat even th
Oct 01, 2009 Shelley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A weird interpretation of the Bible story of Noah and the ark. True, the Bible doesn't give a whole lot of detail, so I expected some artistic liberties would be taken. But this was a bit too off the mark for me. In this version, Noah was a sick old invalid who was keeping the reason for the ark a secret, not preaching repentance to the people. And the "chosen" (aka Noah and his family) were just as wicked, if not more so, than the rest of the people. Which is part of the author's point, I think ...more
Molly chaucer
Apr 01, 2011 Molly chaucer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Provoost writes very simply and to the point. Although I'm sure that some of the nuance of the book has been lost through translation. The author,s characters are authentic and human. Sometimes I feel that Biblical characters might appear to be without fault. Especially in the Noah and the Ark story. The writers of the Bible leave our imaginations to wonder what really happened. Provoost took the opportunity to theorize what might have come to fruition and brought new life into the story. I was ...more
Sandy Schmidt
Told from the viewpoint of the daughter of an outsider whose father helped build the ark and who was chosen by Ham to be his wife - or mistress -, this gives a different view of Noah and his family and the circumstances leading up to the completion and launch of the Ark. The description of the flood, the fear, hunger and disrespect for unmarried women is vivid. In this version Ham, his wife Neelata and ReJana (the stowaway) are exiled after the ark lands on Ararat.
Kelly Crosgrove Sullivan Bredon
Interesting book. It is a story of Noah's Ark from the perspective of a person that was not chosen to be on the Ark. It is a glimpse of what it may have been like to be part of the community of workers who built the ark and how the ark was laid out to house all the animals. It does question the morals of "the chosen people" and God's reasoning to flood the earth.

I personally thought it was too derogatory for my beliefs, but still interesting.
Apr 29, 2009 Hallie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another between-ratings book. I almost gave it a 3, but it was more that it intrigued me than that I liked it. There was something weird about the character development - the entire narration was from the point of view of the main character, but I never felt particularly like I got to know her. On the plus side, it's an interesting version of "reading between the lines" of a Bible story - more in the spirit of The Red Tent than The Garden.
Aug 24, 2011 Katt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was just okay for me. It reminded me a lot of THE RED TENT but it was just so raw. The characters were all so hopeless and non-redeeming. (which I guess is why God killed everyone off and covered the earth with water!) I never really had a feel for what people looked like or who they really were? I did enjoy the addition of the dodo birds on the ark! The premise of the story is interesting with the take-off of the bible story but I feel the author failed in delivery.
Mar 30, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, historical
Rejana, her father, and her crippled mother flee the rising waters of the swamp to the desert, where the Builder is creating a giant ship to please his god. Her father's expertise make the project possible. But Rejana is hearing rumors that only the Builder, his sons, and their wives will escape the coming disaster. Even though Rejana loves Ham, one of the sons, she is not of the elect. Now she and her family must struggle to escape the rising waters once again.
Sep 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book was very disappointing- the plot is very promising: we follow a girl who falls in love with Ham (Noah's son) and gets on the ark.......however, it is not well- written and just did not keep my interest whatsoever. I did finish it, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. Provoost's portrayal of Noah as a feeble, ill, not-very-nice man kind of made me my opinion, not a good read!
Interesting take on watching and living the building of Noah's Ark. There is lots shrouded in mystery, but this is certainly not a mystery book. The author develops her characters to keep the story moving, but there are some unusual developments of the "traditional" story of Noah and the Ark. Well written for sure. If you like retold/revisited Bible stories, especially about or from a female's point of view, try this.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit I bothered to finish this book. Clearly, there was nothing else to read, including shampoo bottles or fire extinguisher instructions.

The whole twisting around of the Noah story didn't bother me. I consider the "source material" for that complete fiction anyway, so one fiction piled onto another isn't the problem. It just started out bad and then took a left turn into weird and stayed there.

The whole thing was just a train wreck.
Jbl Robinson
Very thought provoking ... A woman and not one of "the chosen" and who does not surrender to fate or man's dictates makes a very fascinating read ... fast & furious ... How could a God ... any God ... determines who deserves to live or die ... very relevant too in the changing times we now live ... one where old traditions are scrutinized and challenged as to how well it serves us as a global village ... I would recommend ...
Mar 12, 2008 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I read this book for a book group, and while it took me a little while to get into, I wound up enjoying it a lot. Very interesting take on a biblical myth, from the outside. I'd never thought about what it would have been like to have all those animals on a big boat... not pretty. I found the narrator a little too dispassionate, which created distance between me and the events--but that felt in keeping with the mythical nature of the story.
Well written, interesting prospective of Noah, the ark, family, and the flood.
Told from an outsider, it takes the story of Noah's Ark and makes it more human - how did they build the boat, who was chosen and why, how did the flood happen, what was it like on the boat? Nothing technical of course, and beautifully written and translated. Human emotions always come through - love, greed, pride.

Would definitely read other books by this author.
Nov 14, 2007 K M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. I always enjoy a book whose characters dare to ask challenging, thought provoking questions. Some of the characters were a bit repulsive though - or perhaps it was the gross descriptions of their skin problems...ick.... I guess I didn't quite get the whole dwarf thing, either. Perhaps I'm missing some of the symbolism.
Sep 21, 2007 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenage girls
Shelves: ya
A slightly cheesy romance set around the building of Noah's Ark. It helps to have a bit of biblical knowledge to get some of what this is saying--though that also ruins the end for you. There are some pretty overt references to sex, including rape and something between consensual sex and rape. For that reason I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.
Jul 08, 2008 Rhiannon1220 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a beautiful painting, full of emotion and color. I found parts of it to be very raw and stark, while other parts were warm and comforting. I thought this book showed the strength of people's will to survive, even through what might be considered "divine objection." I hope you have a chance to read it.
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