Mar 14 2014

A Review of The Other Side of the Desert by Jessica L. Murray

The Other Side of the Desert by Jessica L. Murray

The Other Side of the Desert by Jessica L. Murray

A review of an interesting story about Lilith, her legend and the power that stories have this time. I don’t find a lot of stories that tell a story about Lilith in a way that isn’t stereotypical. Perhaps that is the one thing that many writers forget. Their words so have power and as such you really should make the most of them. In this case, this is a story that takes the myths of Lilith and adds another layer to them which makes the original story seem… lacking… in a way…

The work tells the story of:

An elderly priest on his deathbed with a dark confession entangles his young protege in his tale of a dark, mysterious woman. And a promise.

Father Robert is a legend to a young scholar just out of seminary. So Tom is delighted when he is placed there under Father Robert’s tutelage. However, Father Robert is not well. On his deathbed he requests Tom to be by his side. He has a tale to tell. A story so far-fetched it couldn’t possibly be true. The story of Father Robert’s meetings with the real-life Lilith, and hearing her side of the story of Creation, Adam, and a dark, disturbing secret that did not make it into the Bible. As Tom grapples with the imminent demise of his mentor, he must also ask himself who Father Robert really is. And why he chose Tom to reveal his secrets to.

The myth of Lilith is a well known one I think and this story takes that and turns it towards a different explanation. The story is set at the death bed of Father Robert, but it isn’t so much about him, or the young man that listens to his story, or even that of the sister that looks after the Father’s needs.

They are part of the story yes, but they aren’t the core of the story for the most part. The core of the story is the telling of what is said to be the true story of Lilith as Father Robert heard it from Lilith herself. That telling is detailed, emotional, and becomes more real than the rest of the story.

And that is where the point of the story isn’t comes into play. The story mentions one important point. Stories, the telling of them, the sharing of them, and the life in them, matters. It does to Lilith herself and the difference from the beginning of the story when she first appears to the last moment in the story is a dramatic one and that ties nicely into what Father Robert did as a result of meeting her.

I found it, through the course of Lilith telling her story, quite a different take on the story of Adam and Lilith, Lilith and her fate, and Adman, Eve and the end of the Garden of Eden. The author told a story that was captivating and strong in many ways. The trials that Lilith faces, her actions, and in the end, her transformation are all moments where they can be pictured easily in your mind and that is the mark of an excellent writer.

Nothing in the work took me out of the story and that again, marks this as a story well told and well done. the only issue I really have with it is that for the length of it, the subjects touched in it, and the events in it, there is something missing. A resolution to the climax of the story.

The promise given in that moment, for Father Robert, for Tom and most of all, for Lilith wasn’t taken to a conclusion and I have to wonder if the author intended for the story to continue in some way, but never managed to do so.

The questions left really would make for another telling story…

I’ll give this work four and a half pitchforks out of five.

A bit short, the ending left a lot of questions that I would have liked to have answers for. Well written and well worth reading for a different perspective on Lilith and her mythos…




  1. avatar

    Just to be fair to the Bible, the stereotypical story of Lilith isn’t there, either. Lilith’s story is a midrash, one of many stories created in the Jewish tradition to help illuminate and understand certain aspects of the Scriptures. Some are better than others. Some are divinely inspired and inspiring. Some are mysoginistic claptrap. I tend to put the traditional Lilith story in column number two.

    I am glad somebody is trying for a more complete reflection on this legend.

  2. avatar

    It really was captivating…


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