A book by Bedrettin Simsek
NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.
I think the backstory of the author, as described in the preface, is almost more intriguing than this book itself. A Turkish author, Simsek apparently wrote a book early in his career that was deemed heretical and was jailed in his home country along with people associated with the book publisher that released it. When released, he tried for decades to get his books out there, but was blocked and threatened forcing him to self-publish. This caused his books to go largely forgotten until now apparently.
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Heaven According to The Devil is written in the tradition of the ancient Gnostics, who composed a whole litany of religious texts in the early eras of Christianity, and were later deemed the most heretical of all heretics and driven underground by what is now The Catholic Church, they were oppressed, killed, and had their books destroyed. Most of what we have of their works was only made available due to a monk burying scrolls in a clay pot hundreds of years ago. Being a person that formerly considered themselves Gnostic, and having read a lot on the subject, this was a definite interest for me.
This is basically a retelling of The first part of the Biblical Book of Genesis with an emphasis on the Devil as the main protagonist. While the ideas presented are interesting, I’m not sure they wholly represent the Gnostic ideas of the “Garden of Eden” events as seen in books like The Testimony of Truth or The Apocalypse of Adam which are historical texts detailing the same story, but actually written by The Gnostics. However, many old biblical texts are basically religious fan-fiction in their own right – designed to tell an allegory within the context of a set of known characters. This is, of course, something Biblical literalists don’t want to hear, but I digress.
My qualms aside, this is a solid book, and I liked what the text was trying to do here. The dialog definitely grounds the characters, and gives you sympathy for a character that is largely seen as very misunderstood for a multitude of reasons. All-in-all, I liked this and would like to read more by the author. And of course I’d like to learn more about his troubles, and am glad he is finally getting his work out there.