First Lady – A review of the novel ‘Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses’

“If the married life possess love and virtue, these will be both its duty and reward” – Thiruvalluvar

Author Mona Gustafson Affinito’s latest book ‘Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses: A Love Story’ retells the story of biblical Job from the point of view of his wife. Enter a mystical and exotic land of great happenings as Mrs. Job a.k.a. Dara takes you behind the scenes in a unique first person narrative. We follow her journey from childhood to adulthood as she tackles varied themes of friendship, love and faith in her life. This is not just the story of Job’s wife; it is a story about a woman who showed unparalleled courage in the face of multitudes of change that rocked her life. It’s an inspiring story that encourages you to have faith in your own core beliefs and values.

Diving deep into biblical times and the lives of its inhabitants, author Mona comes up with a highly detailed and descriptive narration of an extraordinary story. Christian or otherwise, everyone’s bound to have heard the story of Job and his tryst with God because of the story’s wide appeal and relevance in popular culture. While Mrs. Job gets only a fleeting mention in the bible, this historical fiction puts her at the center of the action and tells the story from her point of view. From the time of her betrothal and subsequent marriage ceremony, Dara loved Job and stayed with him through thick and thin.

This novel’s basic premise of presenting this lone woman as a fallible and yet living and breathing soul in a patriarchal society deserves much appreciation. It is a well researched book but at the same time the narration doesn’t get lost in the details. Even though the characters in this novel are your favorite immortalized ones from the bible, here we get to see them in a different and unique setting. Speaking about the setting, it is one of those things that go unnoticed while reading a book. Story writers simply narrate a story while story-tellers manage to take readers straight into the world of the characters they create. Mona lets them tell their own story; it is they who compel the plot to move forward and not the other way around.

There is an appropriately titled section called ‘story behind the story’ at the end of this book. It is akin to a director’s commentary on your favorite movie’s DVD. But here it’s an author who opens up about her craft and her book.It is a must read if you are a bibliophile or even someone who wants to know more about the inner workings of a writer’s mind.

Mona Gustafson Affinito’s passionately created portrait on the lives of Dara and Job appeals at so many different levels. It is intrinsically humane in its approach and turns out to be an inspiring read that you will keep coming back to.

Product Details

Print Length: 208 pages


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