This is a review of Lilith by J. Daniel Sawyer. The short story can be found here.
The Bible as it stands tells us that in the beginning God created one man and one woman, Adam and Eve. There is a tradition however, in texts from the Middle Ages, that God created an equal to Adam and her name was Lilith. In the short story, or rightly classified faeirie tale, by Dan Sawyer we get to see what she might have been like had she existed.
I first got to hear this story in podcast form. If you’re not familiar with Dan’s podcast work I highly recommend it, particularly Down From Ten. You can find it all at his site http://jdsawyer.net/. Why, you may rightly ask, would I go through the expense, however minimal, of buying a short story I’ve already heard? Well, that’s a good question. I think that some stories benefit from being read in addition to being heard. There’s also the matter of thanking an author for an excellent story by buying it where there’s opportunity. My purchase of Lilith is actually a result of both.
There’s a fair amount of sex in this story, though much of it is less about titillation than it is about power. Sexual politics is at the core of this story. The struggle for equality, the different roles and gifts that men and women have, things that have been plaguing relationships since perhaps the very beginning of civilization are played out in these three thousand plus words. Of course all of this is filtered through Lilith’s point of view and like any first person narrative you have to ask yourself how reliable a witness she is. She does, after all, represent chaos and all of the pros and cons that involves.
Like any good fiction, this story raises a good deal of questions about our own reality and our relationships with others. Does Lilith fall into the same traps that some men do in achieving her desires? She holds the Voice, the creator of the universe, responsible for the state of things. We strive to do the same with God, hesitant to take responsibility for our own actions. Is that warranted? There’s a lot more I could say, but that risks revealing things about Dan’s story that I’d rather you discover for yourself.
If you’re looking for a provocative and interesting tale for your e-reader then I can definitely recommend this one. When you’ve read it make sure you reach out to Dan and let him know what you think. Then drop me a line and we can talk about the rest of the story.
I give Lilith four and a half out of five Golden Delicious.