We review "Noah's Wife," the debut novel from Milwaukee native Lindsay Starck.
The biblical Noah is a man “chosen by God” to build an ark and save his family and thousands of animals from a catastrophic flood. In her debut novel Noah’s Wife (Putnam), Milwaukee native Lindsay Starck uses themes from that faith-based tale to illustrate human frailty and the power of hope.
The heart of the book isn’t the feckless minister named Noah, but his nameless spouse, “Noah’s wife.” For much of the story, her faith in her husband is so steadfast that even when tested, she harbors the fear that “if she did not have someone there to really … need her – then she would simply disappear.”
A new ministerial post leads the couple to a mountain village where the rain has been crashing down for years, the previous minister having ended his life by walking into the river. The townspeople grasp their umbrellas, living in wet clothes and denial that everything will eventually be washed away. That Noah’s wife will step out of her husband’s shadow to help is inevitable. But we follow anyway, the writing absorbing and characters as colorful as the setting is bleak.