cover image Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand

Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand

Gioconda Belli, . . Harper, $23.95 (209pp) ISBN 978-0-06-167364-1

Belli's poetry and politics meld in this lyrical retelling of Adam and Eve. Here, the Serpent tempts Eve with freedom equal to that of Elokim, the God who created them, and history “would begin if she ate of the fruit.” But with the dawn of history comes the rudest of awakenings: confusion about worlds seen and unseen. Far from the simple characters of Bible class, the planet's first couple as drawn by Belli is layered with complexity and power. Eve may have been the first to bite the fruit, but she's also the creator of life and art; Adam wasn't just complicit in the original sin—he was the first philosopher (“Perhaps we simply weren't aware that we would die. Maybe that was Paradise”. The unfolding of knowledge and humanity is both primitive and breathtaking in Belli's view. And without abandoning the timeless biblical story, Belli manages to introduce a modern Darwinian element that's both stark and eloquent. Belli tackles Genesis with perception-rattling gravity. (Mar.)