Booklist, June 6, 2004
by Ilene Cooper

In the tradition of the adult novel The Red Tent comes this story of the biblical Flood, recounted by Re Jana, whose family leaves the marshes to find the ark. The passion Re Jana finds with Ham, son of the Builder, leads to a place on the ark, but this "safe haven," with the stink and sounds of the animals, starvation, and repeated (if not lustful) rapes by Ham's brothers, tests her in every way, even as she carries new life into the New World.

Exquisitely detailed and intelligently written, this is a YA novel only in the broadest sense; no one would blink if it appeared on an adult list. Teens will find themselves alternately caught up in the story's tension, especially once the rain starts falling, and bored by some of the details and religious and philosophical underpinnings.

There are subtly portrayed sexual incidents, too, including a relationship between Re Jana and Ham's wife, but these are small stitches in a vast piece that strikingly reveals the human condition at the hour of its destruction. --