A new friend in another country is reading Death Has Come Up into Our Windows today, and is writing me about how much he is enjoying it, and how he is delighted that in this retelling of Jeremiah, God is “she.”
I wrote back to him:
Yes, having God be ‘she’ in Death Has Come Up into Our Windows was very important to me, both because I wanted to emphasize all the feminine imagery for God in the Old Testament (and write about the veiled, feminine presence of the shekinah that dwells over the Ark behind the veil in the Temple) and because I wanted my readers to set aside for a little while the popular-culture image of God white-bearded and wrathful, and instead have them experience a story in which a prophet converses with God the compassionate, the lamenting, the grieving. A deity abandoned and scorned by her people, responding with yearning and fury and grief to the departure and then the later suffering of her abusive and neglectful spouse. I also wanted them to hear a story of a deity whose love for and faith in her children is bottomless, and who suffers when her people wound and devour each other, and who feels real pain when she is thrust behind a veil and left there to weep by a priesthood more concerned with keeping her silent and in her place, safely contained, than they are with loving her.
For American readers ten years ago, writing God in the female gender seemed to me the most direct way to do an end run around their assumptions and get them to that story.
Death Has Come Up into Our Windows is possibly my strangest novel (and my first) but, after all these years, I remain pleased with it.
If you are interested in the book, it can be found here in paperback and kindle editions.