Published by
Riverhead (2019-04-09)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Fiction & Related items


by Blake, Sarah

NAAMAH is a wildly imaginative retelling of the biblical flood from a woman's point of view - that of Naamah, Noah's wife.

With the coming of the Great Floodthe mother of all disastersonly one family was spared, drifting on an endless sea, waiting for the waters to subside. We know the story of Noah, moved by divine vision to launch their escape. Now, in a work of astounding invention, acclaimed writer Sarah Blake reclaims the story of his wife, Naamah, the matriarch who kept them alive.

Here is the woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. Here is the woman escaping into the unreceded waters, where a seductive angel tempts her to join a strange and haunted world. Here is the woman tormented by dreams and questions of her own - questions of service and self-determination, of history and memory, of the kindness or cruelty of fate.

In fresh and modern language, Blake revisits the story of the Ark that rescued life on earth, and rediscovers the agonizing burdens endured by the woman at the heart of the story. NAAMAH is a feminist parable for our time: a provocative fable of body, spirit, and resilience.

Sarah Blake is the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, Slice, and elsewhere.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Glorious . . . Blake's prose is bewitching, and this narrative is an essential correction to the Bible's male-dominated mythology.

Review: Nylon, 50 Books You’ll Want to Read in 2019

No longer a forgotten name, Naamah is achingly alive here, pulsing with questions and desires. Sarah Blake's prose is sensual, hallucinatory, dream-sharp - a beguiling debut from an immensely talented writer.

Quote: Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks

For her first novel, Philadelphia writer Sarah Blake tackled a well-known Bible story - the tale of Noah and his ark - through the voice of a lesser-known character, Noah's wife, Naamah. Filled with magical realism and fantastic imaginings, Naamah was released on April 9 by Riverhead Books. Blake chatted with us about the challenges of reimagining such a beloved story and exploring the facets of faith through Naamah's eyes.

Quote: Philadephia Inquirer

Sarah Blake's dazzling novel Naamah offers a new vision of storytelling and belief, rendered through the body of a woman. In this beautiful reconception of a flood, Noah's wife emerges as an earth-bound soul savior as well as a desiring body capable of generating epic myth. In between hope and hell, and up against the divine, Naamah reminds us that the bodies and voices of women were always the heart of the story. Naamah is a new myth-making triumph.

Quote: Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children

page 9 of the NYT bestsellers listNAAMAH is one of the staff picks for next week!: Life on the ark after the Great Flood is filtered through the consciousness of Noah's wife, Naamah, in this sensual and evocative first novel, a delirious contemporary riff on an Old Testament climate catastrophe. Blake can invoke prodigious events in plain yet properly large terms; there's an amused sanity under the gravitas.

Review: New York Times Book Review

Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Nylon, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Review of Books and more included NAAMAH in their April roundups. Nylon called Blake's prose is "bewitching", saying "this narrative is an essential correction to the Bible's male-dominated mythology."

Quote: Riverhead

Historical and mythical women . . . are getting due reconsideration in pop culture. Sarah Blake does something similar with the story of Noah's Ark, reconstructing that well-known tale around the woman by Noah's side.

Review: Elle

25 of the Best Books to Read in Spring 2019: Historical and mythical women like Circe and Queen Anne are getting due reconsideration in pop culture. Sarah Blake does something similar with the story of Noah's Ark, reconstructing that well-known tale around the woman by Noah's side as he saved life itselfhis wife, Naamah.

Review: Elle

New York Times Book Review calls NAAMAH, "a wild and superbly intelligent reimagining". Reviewer Joan Silber said, "It also left me with an abiding admiration for the writer's charged powers of imagination."

Review: New York Times Book Review

An urgent feminist response to the Old Testament. . . . Blasphemous, carnal and committed to exaltation, Naamah delivers its truths in a torrent of heresies [and] dares us to center the experience and wisdom of women.

Review: Washington Post

With Naamah, Blake provides insights both unique and moving, and makes an ancient tale feel vibrant and relevant to today.

Review: Jewish Book Council

Imagine you're married to Noah, and God tells him to build an ark to survive a coming flood. What the whaa? Naamah doesn't share her husband's faith, but she does have fierce, deep love for their children and wants them to survive. The book is a testament to the idea that more than one sex, more than one idea and more than one individual makes the world in all its glory and tragedy.

Review: Washington Post

The author creates a for-adults-only multidimensional portrait of Noah's wife by combining biblical narrative with modern prose, fantasy with realism, spirituality with erotica. Despite its mysticism and metaphorical aspects that may perplex some readers, this is a remarkable feat of imagination.

Review: Publishers Weekly

A poetic debut of biblical proportions. . . . [In] mesmerizing prose poem-esque sections, the novel explores themes of sexuality, purpose, loss, love, and faith.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

A dreamy and transgressive feminist retelling of the Great Flood from the perspective of Noah's wife as she wrestles with the mysterious metaphysics of womanhood at the end of the world.

Review: O, The Oprah Magazine

We had the opportunity to chat with Sarah Blake about Naamah, matriarchs, feminist retellings, and how she never wants to break a reader's heart....

Quote: Alma

The author of the stunning debut novel Naamah on reimagining the story of the ark to be feminist and surreal, with a healthy dose of agnosticism...

Quote: Guernica

BookPage named Sarah Blake one of the "15 women to watch in 2019": In the tradition of recent feminist reimaginings (like Madeline Miller's Circe and Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls), Blake's first novel transforms an ancient tale by exploring it through the eyes of a woman. Naamah, wife of Noah, is aboard the ark, trapped on unreceding watersand seeking sanctuary with a seductive underwater angel. Blake has two previously published collections of poetry (Let's Not Live on Earth and Mr. West), and her debut novel enters into a surreal dreamspace through sensual, lyrical language.

Quote: Bookpage

More like this