Book Review: Delilah by India Edghill

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I bor­rowed this book from the local pub­lic library.

Book Review Delilah by India Edghill

This attempt at bib­li­cal fic­tion not a re-telling of the story of Sam­son, but a com­plete over­haul of the famil­iar story — a re-imagining if you will. The bible doesn't tell us much about Samson's wife, or even Delilah (except that she was beau­ti­ful, Samson's love, of the Val­ley of Sorek and one heck of a nag), so a lot is left to the imagination.

Even though she is barely men­tioned in the bible, Delilah is almost syn­ony­mous with the ulti­mate vixen but in this book she is re-imagined as a priest­ess who loves to dance.
Sam­son, the bib­li­cal super­man, is re-imagined as a kind hearted man whose feats are only attrib­uted to him by the Israelites, yet he wants no part in their war or their cause.

Along the way we are intro­duced to sev­eral oth­ers fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters Alyah — Delilah's best friend and "heart sis­ter and polar oppo­site in looks, as well as Orev — Samson's best friend, com­pan­ion and Harper extraordinaire.

The author India Edghill, just like the bible, plays a lot with names and their mean­ings — Delilah — the dark-as-night haired beauty, Sam­son — Son of the Sun, Orev — the crow (mes­sen­ger of death) and Alyah — which in Hebrew means "ris­ing" and it seemed fit­ting in the story the author tells.
(Note: that is how I chose to inter­pret the names.)

The book is bro­ken up into parts which cor­re­spond, and bear the title, of Delilah's stages in becom­ing a Priest­ess (New Moon, Ris­ing Moon, Full Moon etc.) since that is a big part of the story, as well as the social and polit­i­cal struc­ture of the cul­ture (I don't know if they were accu­rate, but nonethe­less fas­ci­nat­ing). There are many under­ly­ing themes in the book of cul­tural, class and per­sonal clashes which I thought were very clever.

I have enjoyed "Delilah" very much — it is a fan­tas­ti­cal re-imagining of a famil­iar story. Once you get through the first sev­eral pages the story becomes engross­ing and Ms. Edghill weaves the story in a clear man­ner, even though there are many events which take place. This is a big story, love and love lost, betrayal and faith, friend­ship, greed, honor and cunning.

The book is writ­ten in the biblical-fiction style of one chap­ter told from a per­spec­tive of one char­ac­ters (Delilah, Sam­son, Alyah, etc.) even though some of the chap­ters about Sam­son are told through the eyes of Orev.

If you are not famil­iar with the bib­li­cal story of Sam­son, I rec­om­mend read­ing it before you read this book just to be famil­iar with the ref­er­ences the author makes, and then you'll be the Judge (pun intended).

My rat­ing for Delilah: A Novel — 5
Please leave a com­ment if you agree or dis­agree with my review, or just to say hello.

Zohar — Man of La Book

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