The Book of Lilith tells the story of Lilith, who was really the first woman created by God, and who just happened to have been created before Adam. Her job is to give all the things in the world souls, while Adam's is to create rules and law out of chaos. Unfortunately, Adam likes to have sex with Lilith only in the Adam-on-top position. This leads to, shall we say, "problems".
The Book of Lilith is alternately funny, serious, surreal, and amazing as Lilith embarks on a Zen journey around the world giving things souls and giving birth to a god. It is more than a little bit deep, and yet very, very entertaining.
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By Robert Brown
Oct 4, 2009
"Author's Review" The Book of Lilith is a work of serious fiction. You should find it entertaining, and it should make you think. The general category for the work is magical realism, or perhaps satiric fantasy in the spirit of Barth's Chimera. It is a story set in a pseudo-academic framing story involving the supposed discovery of lost scrolls in war-torn Iraq by a somewhat mysterious maiden. These scrolls, when translated, turn out to be the oldest written documents ever discovered, the first person story of Lilith herself. Although the frame is of course just part of the story (and yet told realistically enough that it fooled at least one early reader into asking the author "so where are the real scrolls") the story itself is carefully researched and spans four cultures from the early Bronze or late Stone age. Lilith takes the reader with her as the crazy course of her life ensouled carries her from its beginnings in a magical Eden located in ancient Sumeria to... More > Sidon in early Phoenicia, to Mohenjo Daro and the Harrapan civilization, and finally to a wicked and corrupt India in the years immediately preceding the violent cleansing portrayed in the Mahabharata. It is lovingly derived from many scholarly and historical works and epics, including The Book of Genesis, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Upanishads, the Alphabet of Ben-Sirra, the Dead Sea Scrolls and more. Note well that the Lilith portrayed is not the "goddess" worshipped by various cults, nor is she the she-demon portrayed by various patriarchal writings. She is a real person -- the first, untamed wife of Adam, with a surprising relationship with the more submissive Eve. In fact, she is the first real person gifted with a soul by God, and it is her appointed task to bring the gift of Soul to all things in Creation (beginning with Adam) by means of her love, just as it is Adam's task to bring about the rule of Law and hence begin the process of evolving a just and ethical society. Lilith enjoys both preternatural knowledge and a personal relationship -- one that involves sharing sushi and shopping trips to early bazaars - with Goddess in the metaphor of Inanna (given that any human representation of God is at heart an anthropomorphic projection of a genderless state of Perfect Knowledge and Perfect Being). Many themes (some of them somewhat disturbing or even shocking, be warned) are woven into the story. Lilith is in turn an eager young bride in love, a young mother coping with what turns out to be a possessive, insecure, and slovenly husband, a beaten and raped wife who prefers to work as a harlot to feed herself and her children rather than ever again be "owned" by any man, a miracle worker beloved by God and granted the power to heal the sick or punish the wicked, a penetrating judge who can plumb the depths of the darkest heart and consign its possessor to freedom or a horrible death, and (throughout) a seductive lover with the uninhibited knowledge of sexual pleasure she is ever willing to share -- as long as she gets to be on top, or at least to take turns. At the end of all this -- eventually -- she turns out to be neither more nor less than an extraordinary human being who suffers from her pride and mistakes, who struggles with her appointed task (sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing) and who learns from the pain and reward of a life well spent that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. There are surprises and adventures, wickedness and great good, laughter and tears, and -- perhaps -- a nugget or two of wisdom, so give it a try. I think you'll enjoy it!< Less
"Extraordinary book!" The Book of Lilith is an extraordinary fictional account of the life of Lilith, here portrayed as the first woman of Creation rather than the succubus or demoness of certain myths. The story begins with the somewhat exasperated account of a college professor, perplexed at why he has been chosen as a key contact for the Iraqi woman who has salvaged a collection of scrolls she believes are valuable. The woman has been beaten, raped, and enslaved, but she still manages to trick her captor into allowing her use of the Internet--not so she can seek asylum, but so she can share her find with someone who will appreciate it. She scans in photographs of the ancient scrolls to ensure a record of their discovery in the event of their untimely destruction. Upon translation, the professor and his colleague realize the magnitude of this incredulous find. The scrolls are the account of the creation of man, told from the point of view of Lilith, the mother of all.... More > Lilith's tale places a feminist spin on the story of Creation, purporting the weaknesses of Adam and his naturally tendency toward sin. As seems to be a pattern in this tale, Lilith is beaten and raped by Adam, and quickly flees Eden, refusing to accept his aggression. Thus, Lilith is also the first single mother. On her own, she accepts her duty from God (portrayed as Inanna to Lilith, though God takes on a masculine form when "it" appears to Adam), which is to provide the empty vessels of humanity with souls. Lilith's task is not an easy one, as Adam will be a constant inhibitor of her higher purpose due to his obsession with sin. Eventually, Lilith will come to represent two feminine archetypes: her own independent self and Eve, self-chosen submissive to Adam. If any of the story seems outrageous or disturbing, it isn't at all because the author's own brand of sarcasm makes every aspect of the tale completely plausible. Brown's suggestion that shopping is actually a form of worship or that Adam's key hangup with Lilith was her refusal to be on bottom during intercourse is just a taste of the tongue-in-cheek humor that follows the reader on this journey. When the story begins, Brown eases the reader into the plot with wit, but as Lilith's story evolves, the sarcasm actually begins to fade. By the end of the book, the depth of the theology involved is such that the reader will find themselves immersed in contemplation of the meanings suggested, leaving the humor behind. Through Brown's fiction, he brings to light some of the true inconsistencies and irrelevance of the tenets of major religions. I found myself emotionally involved in Lilith's tale, at times laughing out loud, at times brimming with joy or seething with anger. At some points, I was lost in the story so much that it seemed real to me, and when I brought myself back to reality, I longed for it to have been a true account. It's a wonderful work of fiction that encourages the reader to examine humanity's existence and the sacred feminine from many perspectives.< Less
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