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Review: The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

Ancient Israel first person drama

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord

Geraldine Brooks (Goodreads Author)
Another glorious book by Geraldine Brooks. Her writing is smooth, like fine port, and goes down as nicely.
In this book, she takes the well-known story of King David of the Old Testament and puts clothes on it, or rather, makes it sing. The characters – David, Goliath, David’s wives including Bathsheba (Batsheva), his sons Absalom (Avshalom) and Solomon (Shlomo) – come alive in her descriptions, and we find that they are ordinary people, not the cartoonized versions often portrayed. They have flaws, make bad decisions, love and hate, try hard to do the right thing, and worry about what others will think of them. Especially the prophet Nathan (Natan), who tells the story.
I got a real sense of how people lived back then, 3,000 years ago, what drove them, and how the nation of Israel developed from a clump of feuding tribes into a coherent political entity.
Brooks gives credible, and believable, explanations for how David was so adored even though he slaughtered innocent villagers, why Nathan offered some prophecies yet withheld others, why David had so many problems with his offspring, and of course, how the young David was able to defeat the giant Goliath.
The writing is like David’s psalms: lyrical, full of emotion, relatable and earthy. I highly recommend this book!

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