cover image The Book of Eve

The Book of Eve

Carmen Boullosa, trans. from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee. Deep Vellum, $16.95 trade paper (292p) ISBN 978-1-64605-224-0

Mexican writer Boullosa follows up The Book of Anna with another mischievous and winning revision of a classic story, this time drawing on the creation stories of Genesis. Eve awakes to a flat version of the paradisial Eden, which Boullosa describes as “silent and unashamed, fleshless.” From Eve’s perspective, there is no time, language, or understanding, though Boullosa puts her primordial impressions into words (the being she names “Thunder,” which Adam calls “God,” produces “sounds like those made by shovels and hatchets”). Eve, “with her fiery disobedience,” is no shameful sinner. Rather, she leads her fellows down the Divine Mountain to Earth, where she finds fire, sex, words, and becomes the mother of all people. Adam doesn’t like these developments; he transforms from Eve’s “puppy-dog” to a violent and spiteful man, distorting the truth of creation and twisting his version into a patriarchal religion: “Abel and Adam spoke to a ‘He.’ They made up prayers that allowed them to repeat their monologue ad nauseam.” What makes this so delightful is Boullosa’s chronicle of Eve’s discovery of pleasure, and of the misogyny of Christianity, in a tone as straightforward as Genesis itself. It’s a stirring challenge to an age-old narrative. (Mar.)