Carousel, Herfst 2004
door Jack Ousbey

Anne Provoost is a member of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature and has won twelve major awards for her work. In the Shadow of the Ark is her first novel to be published in the UK and will surely be received with acclaim.

Provoost takes on one of the world 's great stories, The Flood Myth, and reshapes it with startling grace and power. Re Jana and her family have been driven from their old home in the marshes by the rapidly rising waters, and find themselves in a huge, tented city in the barren desert where scenes of frantic activity attend the building of a giant Ark.

Simply to exist, Re Jana and her family have to find a way of integrating with the multitude of tribes who have gathered to work under the command of Noah the Builder, and all of whom hope to be saved when the deluge is loosed and the doors of the Ark sealed. Then, of course, there are the complications which follow when Re Jana meets Ham.

This is a book for the older, persistent reader. Rich in character, elegantly written and shot through with the deeper themes of love, faith, loyalty, betrayal and renewal. l was wholly convinced by the imaginative grasp of detail which Provoost displays in this long novel. We see deck after deck being constructed with booths and galleries, pens and store-houses, bulkheads, passageways, cages, perches and ventilation shafts, all hammered into place as a kind of theatrical stage for rituals, relationship and developing drama. And behind the violent activities is the constant, threatening presence of seething winds, thundering storms and the unstoppable forces of wave after giant wave. An excellent, uncompromising read written 'against the grain' of so much pulpy teenage fiction.