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Card, Orson Scott. Rebekah.

(Women of Genesis), Tor, Forge. 404p. c2002. 0-765-34128-X. $299. SA

Card, usually known for his SF and fantasy. continues his series about the women of Genesis here. (Sarah was reviewed in KLIATT. November 2001.) The stories of these women are shared by three major world religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Sarah, as Abraham's wife, was crucial in the decision to cast out Abraham's son by the handmaiden Hagar--this son, Ismael, is the ancestor of Mohammed and the Arab people. Ismael is a major character in Rebekah, as well, seen as a beloved son of Abraham, returning to family celebrations after the death of Sarah. Rebekah marries the son of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac. When she joins the family, Rebekah soon realizes there is a subtle rift between Isaac and his father-and Card develops the idea that Isaac must have been affected by his father's willingness to kill him in order to obey the will of God (the sacrifice of Isaac). Rebekah and Isaac feel that Abraham likes Ismael better, since Ismael, the father of many, is a successful patriarch himself. Isaac and Rebekah wait long years before bringing twin sons into the world: Jacob and Esau, Esau being the elder. Card prepares for the eventual decision of Rebekah to help trick the elderly Isaac into conveying the birthright to the second son. Jacob, by portraying Esau as a person not very interested in the holy writings, in the birthright itself; she feels that Jacob is the son who has the strongest faith in Abraham's God. This relationship between the twins is a mirror of the relationship between the sons of Abraham, Ismael and Isaac.

Rebekah is portrayed as a highly intelligent woman who can read and write, who commands the respect of her household, who has strong opinions and speaks her mind, even to the family patriarch, Abraham. This series is definitely for those interested in women in the Bible, and in such novels as The Red Tent.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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