Rachel and Leah

Orson Scott Card
  • Review
By – July 26, 2012

Acclaimed sci­ence fic­tion author Card (Ender’s Game, Speak­er for the Dead) turns his atten­tion to the sto­ries of Rachel and Leah, Bil­hah and Zil­pah in his series of unusu­al­ly text-based nov­els on the lives of the bib­li­cal matri­archs. The women are treat­ed with both inter­est and deep respect, devel­oped as real peo­ple while at the same time as the pil­lars of Juda­ic tra­di­tion that they are. All four of the women are han­dled sym­pa­thet­i­cal­ly, and Card fills in the blanks in the his­to­ries of the hand­maid­ens, Bil­hah and Zil­pah. Where there is no back­ground in the bible, Card lets his imag­i­na­tion roam free and cre­ates believ­able, emo­tion­al­ly involv­ing sto­ries. Still with­out stray­ing from the word of Gen­e­sis, he also cre­ates a deep­er Lot than usu­al­ly appears, and a rather inter­est­ing Jacob as well. 

Card men­tions in his author’s note that the book was intend­ed to be one vol­ume, but sim­ply kept grow­ing. This, the first in a pro­ject­ed two-vol­ume set, ends with an extreme­ly orig­i­nal view of Jacob’s mar­riage to Leah.

Sharona S. Vedol is an Acqui­si­tions Edi­tor at Aca­d­e­m­ic Stud­ies Press and was for­mer­ly an Asso­ciate at the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She is also a free­lance writer.

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