cover image Let There Be Light: The Real Story of Her Creation

Let There Be Light: The Real Story of Her Creation

Liana Finck. Random House, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-984801-53-1

In an irreverent yet profound retelling of the Book of Genesis, Finck (Excuse Me) presents God as a woman artist wearing a Burger King–style crown who struggles with existential questions and intermittent depression (the beginning of creation is also “the beginning of disappointment”). The conceit begs being read as a counterplay to R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis; in Finck’s version, God seems more hurt and fallible than fickle: “As the world grew, she withdrew herself more and more” until “only in God’s absence can we begin to comprehend her love for us.” This cohesive and moving motif unfolds alongside the Old Testament stories of Cain and Abel, the bizarre “Begats” (“If you are easily bored, you may skip it”), Noah, etc., in whimsical black-and-white line drawings playfully punctuated by spot colors: red, for the Eden apple; one stripe of the post-flood rainbow; and of course Joseph’s colorful coat. Finck leans into biblical idiosyncrasies while taking humanity quite seriously. Leah, the “idol” worshipped by Laban, looks like a giant sheet ghost; he’s creepy as a man infatuated with an inflatable doll. But compassion from God, Rachel, and Esav make Leah real. Throughout, God and readers are reminded that light can’t exist without darkness, or creation without destruction. Finck’s exploration offers much light in both senses: levity and illumination. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, Gernert Company. (Apr.)