Eve: A Novel
By W. Paul Young
2015. 320 pages. $19
THIS IS a novel
you might just
devour in one sitting. For those not
familiar with Paul Young, he’s a
Canadian whose self-published
novel The Shack went on to sell 22
million copies in 48 languages.
That earlier book struck a chord
for its imaginative depiction of the
Trinity and dramatization of grace
amid darkness. But it also drew fire
from theologians who worried
about unorthodoxy, and biblical
literalists who judged the novel as
if it were a theological treatise.
For those who loved The Shack
like I did when I first read it years
ago, Eve is no disappointment. It is
wildly imaginative, poetic and
deeply moving (like The Shack),
focused on the meeting place between the worst pain of the human
heart and the all-encompassing
compassion and love of God.
Eve explores the story of Creation
with some startling twists. It undermines traditional biases that blame
the first woman for the brokenness
to hear their
BOOKS & CULTURE
512 pages. $22
A NOVEL INSPIRED by real events,
Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda uses
three characters to delve into the
history of our land before it came
to be called Canada.
Bear is a rising Huron warrior.
He captures and adopts Snow
Falls, a young Iroquois girl, after
revenge-killing her family. The
Crow (Father Christophe) that Bear
captures on the same raid is given
a mixed welcome by the Huron.
Aren’t his kind responsible for the
strange diseases that have lately
afflicted the region? Yet if they don’t
welcome him and all he symbolizes,
their enemies may well get the
guns that will skew the balance of
power between Huron and Iroquois.
The beautifully written first
person account of each character
immerses us in the cultural, tribal
and spiritual battles that play out.
There is treachery and sacrifice,
fear and stoicism, brutality,
perseverance, loyalty and love.
I was happily surprised at
Boyden’s even-handed treatment
of Father Christophe. Though
already at this stage in white-
Aboriginal relations we find
alcoholism and sexual abuse, the
Crow (based on Father Jean de
Brébeuf) is not implicated. Instead,
he is portrayed as a master
at explaining the gospel using
aspects of Indian culture and is
the one to whom they go when in
need. Still only a few convert.
The book has a few sexually
explicit scenes and the violence
of tribal warfare is hard to read.
However, it’s still a commendable
book that brings history to life
while exposing roots of white-Aboriginal tensions.
–VIOLE T NESDOLY
Reading THE BESTSELLERS
of the world. It declares the equality
of the genders, as stated in Genesis.
And it doesn’t flinch from the dark-est horrors – rape and trafficking of
the innocent and vulnerable.
Young never shies away from
writing about pain and atrocity
because he has experienced them
in his own life. He is keenly aware
that talking about God’s love to
wounded people is meaningless
without the willingness to hear
their stories and comprehend
In Eve he depicts the insidious
way shame takes root in trauma and
matures into self-hatred and a belief in one’s own unworthiness to
be loved. He also shows how love
explodes that lie and restores
dignity and destiny.
A moving story likely to evoke
tears. –MARIANNE JONES
They Left Us
By Plum Johnson
2014. 288 pages. $22
THIS AWARD-WINNING memoir
provides a window into the life of
an ordinary family as they come to
grips with the aging and loss of
those who reared them.
Plum Johnson reached the age of
63 after providing elder care for
two decades, first to her British
father Alex, who struggled with
dementia for 12 years, and later to
her witty and strong-willed mother.
After both parents pass away,
Plum and her siblings devised a
plan where she, the oldest and only
daughter, would for six weeks move
back into the 23-room lakeside
house in Oakville, Ont., where they
were raised, disperse the household items and prepare the house
to be sold.
“How hard could it be?” she
asked herself. “I know how to buy
The six weeks extended to 16
months of sorting the trash from
the treasure, many flooding her
heart with childhood memories.
Readers easily relate to her candid, honest depictions. The book
portrays the beauty of aging, especially in the humour her mom displays in her 90s.
It also illustrates the need for a
team effort to handle such demands. Readers see how the siblings met for suppers for years