30 March 2014

Review: The Book of Jonah

The Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Retellings of classic/historic stories can always be hit and miss, especially when they're Biblical retellings that are both based on somewhat short texts and when the subject of the text is basically known for one key plot point popularly. If you're someone who isn't familiar with the details of the Jonah story in the Bible, you'll probably spend most of this story wondering what, exactly, the whale is supposed to be.

Anyway, one plotline is Jonah, a lawyer in New York who's career trajectory is followed alongside the secondary plot of Judith, a girl who ends up at Yale and loses her parents in the September 11 terrorist attacks. The first almost two-thirds of this book are an almost nihilistic, certainly dark tale of a lot of unlikable people and things across the board.

The final third is a redemption story of sorts for all involved, even if there's a lot of somewhat unreasonable maneuvering to get there. There were honestly times I was wondering what the point was until it finally got there, and, even then, I'm not really sure as to whether things needed to head in the directions they did. Never really a good sign.

I don't know if I can recommend this. On one hand, if retellings are your thing, it's worth a look. As a modern character study, eh. As a fun read? Not really. Had a not gotten a copy for review, I likely might have tossed this aside a little earlier (even if the payoff was okay).

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