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The Book of Heaven

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  25 reviews
From the author of the classic travel memoir Dinner with Persephone: Travels in Greece, a stunningly original novel of heartrending lyricism about four women who invite us to enter into a new and powerful imagination of the divine: what if "a woman's point of view" were also God's?

In the prologue, Eve speaks about what we are told happened in the Garden of Eden, a story sh
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  115 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Kathryn Bashaar
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Strong female characters and contemplation of spiritual questions: two of my favorite things to find in a book.
The book consists of four invented myths based on invented constellations.
The first story is a loose re-telling of the Old Testament story of Sarah and Abraham, told through a feminist lens, from Souraya's (Sarah's ) perspective.
The second story is told by a courageous female slave/cook, who is instrumental in the overthrow of a conquering culture who hav
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wish I had liked this better since the themes resonated with me. Unfortunately, the author was too enamored with her writing style, which was dense and tedious.
"The man who believes woman
was made of him, not of
God, has made an idol of

This book has a wonderful premise. The synopsis provided by Goodreads says "Patricia Storace brilliantly and radically reimagines the worlds of these women, freeing them from the old tales in which they were trapped, putting them in the foreground of their stories and of the Old Testament itself," yet, if it weren't for this synopsis, I would have no idea that these tales were from the Bible at all.

The prologue be
I thought this book was going to be amazing: an inventive and original mythology, re-tellings of bible stories through the eyes of female protagonists and constellations. Turns out, I was very sorry to have chosen this heavy hard cover to lug around Manhattan for 2 days. Even trapped for 5 hours on a bus with nothing else to read, I had to skip the introduction. I feel terrible about not liking this -- It has received so much praise and it obviously was a lot of work. But Storace has adopted a b ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was.... interesting. The language was heavily poetic - at times that made it lovely and meaningful and resonant, but other times it was just dense and difficult to process. The stories themselves, ostensibly about different women in imaginary countries, were sometimes disjointed, and mostly depressing - focusing on how society/men disrespect and abuse people through custom and religion - women in particular - and how love persists. The "proverbs" at the end were sometimes accurate and ...more
Jul 29, 2014 marked it as gave-up-on
I got about 40 pages in and am giving up. Its not the book...its me. Not my taste, not my genre, not my style
Bree Taylor
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, spiritual
This book took me so long to digest that I don't remember when I started it. An excellent, but slow, read to be savored and enjoyed slowly.
started twice, could not engage
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very different/original.

There are books that show up unexpectedly in your life, books you never asked for, and, more significantly, you didn’t know you needed in your life. Typically, these books catch your eye one lazy summer afternoon when you enter a bookstore, not really looking for something but in the mood to be surprised by something unusual.

That is how I came across The Book of Heaven; I found a copy in perfect condition in a used bookstore in the very heart
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Biblical stories told from a different perspective. These are not all quite Biblical, but they have a similar flavor. I especially enjoyed the retelling of the stories of Sarah (and Abraham and Isaac and the rest) and the Queen of Sheba.

pg. 3 "We can never stop searching for Heaven, since there is always more of it than we can see. There, as in those tales that evolve endlessly into other tales, stories have no end. They are hardly ever the stories you know, the official ones, in which wi
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Patricia Storace's first novel is a feminist mythopoesis, divided into four parts. As the novel opens, Eve is chased through the heavens by the hunter Orion. She dives into a river of stars and is washed away to an alternate heaven where she is introduced to four unknown constellations: the Knife, the Cauldron, the Paradise Nebula, and the Lovers' Cluster. Each constellation is associated with a different heroine, three of whom are identifiable figures in the Abrahamic tradition: Souraya (an inc ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This surprisingly magnificent book felt like a long coffee break with my most trusted female mentors. Not all the stories end happily, but they all are filled with light.
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This work could be likened to poetry elaborated in prose. This book is divided into four parts, one of which, is 'Savour'. It is my favorite section of the book in that it deals with the matter of culinary arts and of the discerning palate, not only of taste, but also of intuiting human proclivities. The entire book is to be savored, but none more so that this section, in which I could 'taste' the texture of the words.

This book alludes to certain Biblical Old Testament stories, but written from
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating reimagining of some of the most iconic stories in the bible, told from women's points of view, and structured to resemble sagas from ancient civilizations- which (lets face it) - is the basis of many biblical tales.
I was a little iffy about the books premise, and some of the chapter-ending "proverbs" are a bit much. But I was ultimately won over by the beautiful imagery and the stories themselves. This isn't a book for everyone, but if you are willing to suspend reality an
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am a professional, mother of 2 who read popular fiction as well as classic. I loved this book. I was slowly brought into each story and each struggle. I found myself dying to know each chapters end but not wanting the story to stop. I was twisted with emotions; mad, happy and sad all at the same time. I could have read another 300 pages of Souraya, Savour, Rain and Sheba each.
Its a must read in my opinion.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, general-fiction
I really liked the second story, but can't say that this is something I would recommend to people. I don't know about her writing style. Something about it seems odd. Maybe it's too verbose, maybe it's the tone of the narration. Seems like the kind of book best read in the construct of a college lit class, because I know there was a lot of stuff in there I just didn't "get".
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was divided into different stories of the bible and myths as told by the woman's point of view. My favorite was Noah and the arc. A very reasonable outcome of the flood and the arc story. This was a hard book to get into, not sure what I was expecting.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This novel read like a fable or a fairy tale; it was a bit magical. It seemed liked fact and fiction at the same time. Most importantly, it was about women, their history on Earth, and their relationships with men and with one another.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Densely poetic stories inspired by existing religious texts make up this feminine/feminist cosmology. I really enjoyed it, and would recommend to those who enjoy reading mythology and religious stories for pleasure, and who don't mind a lot of female and human suffering.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
so far - brilliant poetic prose. it's wordy, and feminist, and I love it.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Got to page 63. No further. Never spiked my interest.
Tracy Mai
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Celebrates women roles in the bible with its own interpretation. I enjoyed highlighting some of the verses.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
The fourth part of this book was just too slow for me. The first three were very well written.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully conceived and written!
Jared Davis
rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2016
Samantha Keen
rated it liked it
May 04, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2015
rated it liked it
Sep 16, 2014
Patty Melin
rated it really liked it
Jun 10, 2014
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