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The Book of Heaven: A Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2014
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Description

From the author of the classic travel memoir Dinner with Persephone, an accomplished poet, and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, here is an eagerly anticipated, stunningly original novel of heartrending lyricism about four women, a fierce mythopoeia that invites us to enter into a new and powerful imagination of the sublime: What if "a woman's point of view" were God's? As The Book of Heaven commences, Eve speaks about what is alleged to have happened in the Garden of Eden, a story she hardly recognizes. She tells her version of events, revealing that the constellations we are accustomed to seeing above conceal heavens with which we have yet to contend. In the four parts of the novel—The Book of Souraya, The Book of Savour, The Book of Rain, The Book of Sheba—and their accompanying proverbs, Eve accounts for four new zodiacs and teaches us how to view each and comprehend its centrality to women: a knife, a cauldron for cooking, a paradisiacal garden, lovers embracing. Each book keenly evokes the life of a woman newly freed from the old tales in which she was trapped: a metamorphosis of Sarah, Abraham's wife; a polytheistic cook; Job's wife; and the Queen of Sheba. In The Book of Heaven, Patricia Storace has brilliantly and radically reimagined the worlds of these women, putting them in the foreground of their stories and of the so-called Old Testament itself.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/18/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307908698
ASIN:
B00ERTDIO0
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Patricia Storace. (2014). The Book of Heaven: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Patricia Storace. 2014. The Book of Heaven: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Patricia Storace, The Book of Heaven: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Patricia Storace. The Book of Heaven: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:37:02
Date Updated:
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        Born in Chicago, Illinois, and reared in Mobile, Alabama, Patricia Storace was educated at Columbia University and the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Dinner with Persephone, a travel memoir that won the Runciman Award; Heredity, a book of poems; and Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel, a children's book. She received the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1993. She has been a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and Condé Nast Traveler.



      • name: Patricia Storace
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title
The Book of Heaven
fullDescription

From the author of the classic travel memoir Dinner with Persephone, an accomplished poet, and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, here is an eagerly anticipated, stunningly original novel of heartrending lyricism about four women, a fierce mythopoeia that invites us to enter into a new and powerful imagination of the sublime: What if "a woman's point of view" were God's?

As The Book of Heaven commences, Eve speaks about what is alleged to have happened in the Garden of Eden, a story she hardly recognizes. She tells her version of events, revealing that the constellations we are accustomed to seeing above conceal heavens with which we have yet to contend. In the four parts of the novel—The Book of Souraya, The Book of Savour, The Book of Rain, The Book of Sheba—and their accompanying proverbs, Eve accounts for four new zodiacs and teaches us how to view each and comprehend its centrality to women: a knife, a cauldron for cooking, a paradisiacal garden, lovers embracing. Each book keenly evokes the life of a woman newly freed from the old tales in which she was trapped: a metamorphosis of Sarah, Abraham's wife; a polytheistic cook; Job's wife; and the Queen of Sheba.

In The Book of Heaven, Patricia Storace has brilliantly and radically reimagined the worlds of these women, putting them in the foreground of their stories and of the so-called Old Testament itself.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus (starred review)
      • content:

        "Fleeing Orion the Hunter, the biblical figure of Eve is carried away by a river of stars to another Heaven where unfamiliar, female-inspired constellations are visible. In her visionary first novel, Storace gives voice to the stories behind four of them, tales of women dwelling in different yet not unfamiliar worlds of oppression and submission. Stupendously imagined and detailed, occasionally didactic and dense, Storace's descriptions of the four women's lives that inspired these unknown star formations are filled with distantly recognizable tribes, beliefs, dynasties and social systems. . . . Several of the stories are modeled on Old Testament figures; all recount lavishly complicated regimes in which the women suffer intensely but where their isolation can result in extraordinary acts. Storace's striking feminist mythopoeic work offers provocative alternatives in beautifully crafted prose."

      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal (starred review)
      • content: "Mystical, lyrical, fascinating . . . A fine author can create stories that open one's mind to alternative views of entrenched archetypes. In a lyrical, feministic, fictional version of Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, this is a marvelous, thought-provoking book for readers who enjoy mythologies which reach down into one's soul. Highly recommended."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Acclaimed poet and memoirist Storace steps onto the terrain of myth, creating a feminist cosmology. . . . Poetic, elusive, and thought provoking."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Storace's imaginative look into the nature of eternity, memory, and the divine leaves readers with much to contemplate. A stunningly poetic and mythological novel."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 9, 2013
        Acclaimed poet and memoirist Storace (Dinner with Persephone) steps onto the terrain of myth, creating a feminist cosmology of sorts. in this novel of four women. We begin with Eve, who tells a tale of evading rape and discovering a zodiac of constellations that we usually cannot see from Earth. The constellations offer archaic feminine images, such as a giant cooking pot, and hold the tales of archetypal women (some biblical, some invented by Storace). Storace uncovers the women’s stories—and, throughout, implies that telling and hearing one another’s stories is a way to discover the sacred. (“We are God’s questions to each other, and through the lattice of our questions, we sometimes catch a glimpse of the divine.”) Along the way, the author delivers koan-like proverbs: “All marriages are arranged, except those in which the wife invents her husband, and the husband invents his wife.” Nominally a novel, the book is more poetic, elusive, and thought provoking than it is a page-turning narrative. What if God is a woman, or at least a god with a woman’s point of view? seems to be the overiding concept. The topic recalls Anita Diamant or Sue Monk Kidd, but the prose is almost self-consciously mystical. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2014
        Fleeing Orion the Hunter, the biblical figure of Eve is carried away by a river of stars to another Heaven where unfamiliar, female-inspired constellations are visible. In her visionary first novel, Storace (Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel, 2007, etc.) gives voice to the stories behind four of them, tales of women dwelling in different yet not unfamiliar worlds of oppression and submission. Stupendously imagined and detailed, occasionally didactic and dense, Storace's descriptions of the four women's lives that inspired these unknown star formations are filled with distantly recognizable tribes, beliefs, dynasties and social systems. The Knife is the tale of Souraya, whose marriage teaches her harsh lessons of love and betrayal. Finally a mother, she must wield a blade to save her child. The Cauldron introduces a slave, Savour, whose brilliant culinary talents help her survive imperialists, despots and genocide. The story of the Paradise Nebula portrays Rain, whose enforced prostitution teaches her to hate, to dance and to find the will to save innocence, leading to claims she is a deity. The fourth constellation, The Lovers' Cluster, is devoted to Princess Sheba. Several of the stories are modeled on Old Testament figures; all recount lavishly complicated regimes in which the women suffer intensely but where their isolation can result in extraordinary acts. Storace's striking feminist mythopoeic work offers provocative alternatives in beautifully crafted prose.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2014
        Poet and memoirist Storace turns her analytical and lyrical focus to the celestial in this beyond-category novel. It begins in the voice of the first woman, Eve, who reveals that she and God planned the fall of man before she was even born into Eden. Eve spent her time in Heaven before she came to Earth studying four constellations, each tracing the shape of a mythic woman whose ordeals in life had been so great they were immortalized in the stars after death, and each of whom has a lesson to teach her. These matriarchs become the novel's narrators following Eve's introduction. Each taps into her inner divinity to rise above the often demeaning circumstances in which she finds herself. Some are drawn from familiar figures of the Old Testament, while others are Storace's own creations. Each speaks in a voice so keen, the reader doesn't want her story to end, and Storace's imaginative look into the nature of eternity, memory, and the divine leaves readers with much to contemplate. A stunningly poetic and mythological novel.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 15, 2013

        Celebrated for her travel memoir Dinner with Persephone: Travels in Greece and an admirable poet as well, Storace has emerged after 15 quiet years with a distinctive new book that recasts the Old Testament from the perspective of its female protagonists, though don't think The Red Tent. Storace takes a supremely mythopoetic approach, opening with Eve indignant at how incidents in the Garden of Eden were misrepresented. Explaining that there are more things in heaven than dreamt of in our philosophy, Eve shows us four unknown constellations--a knife, a cooking vessel, a paradise garden, and a pair of lovers--and their deep significance to women. Much anticipated in literary circles.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

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 she hardly recognizes. She tells her version of events, revealing to us that the constellations we see in heaven conceal other heavens we have never seen or allowed ourselves to see. She reveals four of these hidden constellations and describes how they came to be. Each of the four subsequent chapters is the story of one of these new zodiacs, teaching us how to look at these constellations central to women--a knife, a cauldron for cooking, a paradise garden, a pair of lovers embracing--and how to know the women whose stories they tell: a metamorphosis of Sarah, Abraham's wife; an invented...

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