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Review: How Abraham Abandoned Me, by Bejan Matur

Bejan Matur writers like a prophet from the Old Testament, which, considering her title, is perhaps to be expected. Her subject matter mingles the actors in the narrative of the "peoples of the book" - thus invoking both God and Allah - with a more personal narrative that is only gradually filtered into a creation story involving darkness, rock and dragons by way of personal pronouns rather than emerging characters. Given that this is almost a work of theology, almost because it aspires to a knowledge of the divine but without any god, it is unsurprising that its style and vocabulary belong to another age - until, that is the reader finds one verse firmly belonging to the contemporary world:

It's knowledge of the heart the look creates.
More than the knowledge of neurons
it's chemistry that makes us.
What the look creates
and everything spared in the lovers look
accumulates there.

The union of mysteries - religious, spiritual, profane - is redolent of a European poetry of the baroque which in its time was often so described but it does sit very uneasily with the other element, some of which too closely resemble Tolkein's attempts to evoke the mystery of creation.