David Maine, The Flood

In The Flood, David Maine attempts to flesh out the Bible’s rather brief depiction of Noah’s Ark and the forty day flood. He imagines the impracticality of gathering two of every beast whilst building a huge boat in a dry, sparse landscape. Noah’s success is accounted for, somewhat satirically, by convenient coincidences, or rather God’s foresight; one of Noah’s sons is a ship-builder, his fourteen-year-old daughter-in-law manages to solve the logistical problems of stowing the ship’s live cargo. Noah laments the challenge as he attempts to describe his wood requirement to two irreligious giants, “things were much clearer when God was explaining”.

The novel is fun, easy to read and contains some undeniably witty passages, but it might be worth casting a glance at Dick King Smith’s children’s book Noah’s Brother before giving Maine exclusive credit. Certain characterisations disappoint; Noah’s son Japheth is based on the assumption that all sixteen-year-old boys relate stories exclusively in the present tense under the delusion of being from Brooklyn, “So we’re standing on this great rutting monster, going nowhere in a hurry”, though Brooklyn is another few thousand years in the making. Entertaining food for thought for a lazy mind.

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