Synopsis: The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
Meet The Author:
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Flood Myths—Not Just a Bible Story
When I began writing Forty Days, I was intimidated by the idea of retelling a religious story, so I was very interested to learn about similar tales across cultures. This helped me to approach my novel as more of a myth or folktale retelling, which is something I’m much more comfortable with. I also found it fascinating that so many different cultures focused on a flood in particular, rather than some other natural disaster, as the force that destroyed the world. Why a flood, rather than an earthquake or ice age, for example? We’ll never know for sure, but it’s definitely interesting to think about!
One of the earliest known flood tales is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, a series of stories written on clay tablets like this one, some from as long ago as 2000 BC.
In Gilgamesh, the Noah-like figure Utnapishtim survives a flood on a great boat the gods ordered him to build, while the rest of the world is destroyed. This story is remarkably close to the Biblical one, including the details about bringing animals onto the ship and sending the dove out after the storm.
In Greek mythology there are floods as well. Two of the Greek ages of man end in floods: the silver age and the heroic or first bronze age. This vase depicts the new beginning of the world after the flood.
Even Native American Hopi mythology, all the way on the other side of the world, includes a flood narrative with many similarities to the Noah story. In the Hopi story, though, the “ark” is made of reeds, and I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that in my version!
I think the flood stories, like so many post-apocalyptic tales, reflect our common human fear of destruction and our anxiety over the fact that, ultimately, we don’t control much in this world. On the other hand, these stories also symbolize our hope for survival, cleansing and new beginnings. I recently went to the movies and I swear there were three previews for apocalyptic films releasing in the next few months alone… So the next time you read or watch an epic disaster story, just remember, you’re sharing something in common with civilizations thousands of years old!
Don't forget where this lovely tour came from! The awesome YA Bound!