The Disapointment of Zipporah

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The American cover of the book.

Not often, but occasionally, a book is so laughably bad it makes me happy. I’m happy because I know that I could write a better story than this published person, which gives me hope that if I tried, maybe one day I’ll be published. I’ve learned an author doesn’t have to be good to be successful.

Zipporah, Wife of Moses by Marek Halter is one such book. Halter is incredibly deceptive. He starts the weak narrative harmlessly enough: it’s predictable but it’s a nice journey through the ancient Near East. Zipporah is usually considered to to be the black (Cushite) wife of Moses who travels with him back to Egypt on his quest to free the Hebrews from Pharaoh’s tyrannical whip. That’s a great background for a compelling narrative full of intense and diverse characters. Halter’s story disappoints both narratively and with his weak character development.

At first, it seems Halter is presenting a historical romance novel in the realm of Phillipa Gregory; that’s great, I love a flippant, sexy, adventure through history. Zipporah, however, was not that. While the language is incredibly stilted and unbelievable, the story starts out somewhat strong – seemingly borrowing a lot of plot detail from the Dreamworks animated movie The Prince of Egypt – but quickly devolves into a lot of mindless member throbbing and breast heaving.

It only gets worse.

The European cover of the book.
The European cover of the book.

Halter treads dangerous waters when he starts – almost immediately – presenting the titular character as a woman completely engulfed only in thoughts of a man who she literally saw in a dream. He feigns a strong female lead on the dust jacket and with the title but presents only a wisp of a woman with a one track mind: her husband Moses. Additionally, being a white male, it was almost painfully clear he not only has no idea what it’s like to be a female but less of an idea about what it’s like to be a racial outsider. His constant attention to Zipporah’s blackness was less a story motivator and more blatant exoticism.

I found this novel incredibly disappointing, especially considering the story the author started with. Would not recommend, but instead, if you’re looking for a biblical historical fiction about strong women would recommend The Red Tent.


One thought on “The Disapointment of Zipporah

  1. Damn I hate it so much when writers of other backgrounds try to imitate how they think a person racialised in a way they are not feels by just highlighting their race! This sounds like an awful book. Thanks for the warning!

    Liked by 1 person

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