The Book of Samson

Genre: Fiction; Author: David Maine; Publisher: St. Martin's Press

In David Maine’s third retelling of a Biblical story, Samson, shackled in a temple and awaiting his death, warns the reader only several pages in, ”I fear I am rambling and not sticking to the point. I ask you to forgive me as this is a fault I am prone to — which you’ll see for your self readily enough…” Unfortunately, he’s dead-on: While Maine gets points for inventiveness, his decision to banish commas and employ a stylized, highly stilted English results in Samson sounding as if he was being channeled through Owen Meany. While rich with murder and betrayal, Maine’s version of The Book of Samson feels like drudgery.

Originally posted October 25 2006 — 12:00 AM EDT

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