Adam and Eve
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Adam and Eve

3.5 20
by Sena Jeter Naslund
     
 

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What happened to Eden?

The New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance returns with an audacious and provocative novel that envisions a world where science and faith contend for the allegiance of a new Adam & Eve

Her books have been hailed as "exceptional"

…  See more details below

Overview

What happened to Eden?

The New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance returns with an audacious and provocative novel that envisions a world where science and faith contend for the allegiance of a new Adam & Eve

Her books have been hailed as "exceptional" (People); "enchanting" (Entertainment Weekly); "of great cultural and historical importance" (New York Times Book Review); and "original and affecting" (Los Angeles Times). One of the most imaginative and inspired writers of our time, Sena Jeter Naslund masterfully uses her craft to lay bare the poignant complexity of humanity—the passion and despair, the ignorance and frailty, the genius and resilience that define us. From Victorian London to civil-rights-era Alabama, from nineteenth-century New England to revolutionary Paris, her novels offer profound insight and startling truths about human experience. Now, with Adam & Eve, she delivers her most ambitious and encompassing tale to date.

Hours before his untimely—and highly suspicious—death, world-renowned astrophysicist Thom Bergmann shares his discovery of extraterrestrial life with his wife, Lucy. Feeling that the warring world is not ready to learn of—or accept—proof of life elsewhere in the universe, Thom entrusts Lucy with his computer flash drive, which holds the keys to his secret work.

Devastated by Thom's death, Lucy keeps the secret, but Thom's friend, anthropologist Pierre Saad, contacts Lucy with an unusual and dangerous request about another sensitive matter. Pierre needs Lucy to help him smuggle a newly discovered artifact out of Egypt: an ancient codex concerning the human authorship of the Book of Genesis. Offering a reinterpretation of the creation story, the document is sure to threaten the foundation of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions . . . and there are those who will stop at nothing to suppress it.

Midway through the daring journey, Lucy's small plane goes down on a slip of verdant land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East. Burned in the crash landing, she is rescued by Adam, a delusional American soldier whose search for both spiritual and carnal knowledge has led to madness. Blessed with youth, beauty, and an unsettling innocence, Adam gently tends to Lucy's wounds, and in this quiet, solitary paradise, a bond between the unlikely pair grows. Ultimately, Lucy and Adam forsake their half-mythical Eden and make their way back toward civilization, where members of an ultraconservative religious cult are determined to deprive the world of the knowledge Lucy carries.

Set against the searing debate between evolutionists and creationists, Adam & Eve expands the definition of a "sacred book," and suggests that true madness lies in wars and violence fueled by all religious literalism and intolerance. A thriller, a romance, an adventure, and an idyll, Adam & Eve is a tour de force by a master contemporary storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Naslund (Ahab's Wife) delivers a cheesy blend of futuristic thriller, pseudoreligious speculation, and idyllic romance. In 2017, Lucy Bergmann's astrophysicist husband is murdered just before he is to reveal the existence of extraterrestrial life. Now, as the keeper of a copy of his data, Lucy's being stalked by the leaders of a sect called Perpetuity, who intend to destroy any challenge to their fundamentalist beliefs. And when Lucy agrees to transport an ancient scroll that offers an alternate version of the Book of Genesis from Cairo to the Dordogne, she becomes a double target. Lucy pilots a plane (this convenient ability is indicative of the preposterous plot) and crash-lands in Mesopotamia, where she meets a gorgeous, naked man named Adam (an American GI gone a touch nutty) who nurses her back to health in a facsimile of the Garden of Eden. Their chaste but busy domesticity is eventually threatened by the evil Perpetuity crew, and they face even more danger after an escape to France. It's embarrassingly bad in every way, from the dopey conceit of a 21st-century Eden to the paper-thin characters who spout ersatz philosophy and spiritual theorizing while enjoying the cloying clichés of romance fiction. (Oct.)
Louise Erdrich
“An intense treat, powerfully written, Ahab’s Wife is one of the best contemporary novels I have read in years.
USA Weekend
“Filled with the fear Naslund witnessed, the characters ...come to life ....Naslund succeeds splendidly in making history a page-turner.”
People
“Exceptional...A richly detailed portrait of an opulent, turbulent time, revealing the Queen’s journey from frivolity to responsibility, and from palace to prison cell to be one of striking beauty and terrible loss. 4 stars.”
Detroit Free Press
“This is a wonderful, wonderful novel ...[Naslund] has blown a deep breath of life into Four Spirits.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Naslund’s insight and craftsmanship ...capture the complexities and cultural nuances of the times.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“This is a brave and multifaceted book, propelled by a mission, and ...it is a page-turner.”
Christian Science Monitor
“A wealth of period details...the queen faces imprisonment and beheading with both charm and a new dignity, even the most cynical reader will wish for a last-minute pardon.”
Kirkus Reviews

The story of the story of Genesis, and a love story reminiscent of Joan Crawford's worst movies are, uh, juxtaposed, in this very earnest sixth novel from the industrious Kentucky author (Abundance, 2006, etc.).

Set in the near future, it begins with the narration of Lucy Bergmann, widowed when her husband Thom, a renowned astrophysicist who had discovered evidence of extraterrestrial life, is brought rudely back to earth, so to speak, when a piano falls from the sky onto him. Inspired to continue Thom's work, Lucy educates herself as needed, accepts numerous invitations to scholarly conventions and whatnot, and happens to be airborne en route to Egypt when engine trouble and the Hand of Fate steer her toward the nubile naked form of wounded American soldier (yes, dear readers, we're still Over There) Adam Black, having awoken—like his biblical namesake—in the Mesopotamian desert, to a new world waiting to be claimed by this transplanted Iowa farm boy. Eventually this Adam, whose ingenuous ingenuity recalls the gnomic nonwisdom of Chauncey Gardiner in Jerzy Kosinski's Being There, and his new Eve leave their garden and end up in France, in flight from Thom's old colleague and enemy Gabriel Plum ("a serpent") and into the orbit of anthropologist and cave-painting aficionado Pierre Saad, whose multicultural pedigree and ethos heighten his interest in The Object (which Hitchcock would have called the MacGuffin) that proves the world's four major religions have a common origin. Traditionalists, needless to say, disagree: hence, this overheated novel's ineffably risible climax. The bookgroans with faux-biblical encomia to Adam's pristine naturalness (e.g., "And Adam touched himself, till he was satisfied" [the reader likewise groans, but not with pleasure]). Even stagier are its abundant rhetorical questions, such as Pierre's "Are we so different from people who lived eons ago?"

Hmmm...wonder what the Texas State School Board will think of this one?

Huntsville Times
Adam & Eve is a book about passions—a carefully crafted mosaic of devoted love, gut-wrenching betrayal, religious extremism, scientific inquiry, artistic expression…a wonderfully imaginative romp.”
Elle
“[Naslund] shed[s] light on what the creation myth (and religious fanaticism) reveals about the human condition: that however formative our beginnings may be, they can always give way to the drama of rebirth. In Adam & Eve, Naslund asks, Which is really more important to us?”
Louisville Courier Journal
Adam & Eve has the potential of making not simply a splash, but a small tsunami. The novel is nothing less than a futuristic gloss on all creation, pitting religious fundamentalism against the discovery of extraterrestrial life”
Alabama Writers' Forum
“A really satisfying surprise ending.”
Bookreporter.com
“[Adam & Eve] transcends the boundaries of the genres it flirts with. In the hands of a lesser storyteller, it might degrade into a flimsy pastiche, but Sena Jeter Naslund’s lyrical, exact prose kept me engaged.”
New York Times
“Provocative”
Boston Globe
“[A] charming parable...but along the way, Naslund weaves into the story an effective condemnation of dogma and religious zealotry as well as an understated plea for open-mindedness and tolerance.”
New York Times Book Review
“Surprisingly affecting. ”
People Magazine
"Exceptional...A richly detailed portrait of an opulent, turbulent time, revealing the Queen’s journey from frivolity to responsibility, and from palace to prison cell to be one of striking beauty and terrible loss. 4 stars."
Louise Erdrich on Ahab's Wife
“An intense treat, powerfully written, Ahab’s Wife is one of the best contemporary novels I have read in years.
Alabama Writers' Forum on ADAM & EVE
“A really satisfying surprise ending.”
Huntsville Times on ADAM & EVE
Adam & Eve is a book about passions—a carefully crafted mosaic of devoted love, gut-wrenching betrayal, religious extremism, scientific inquiry, artistic expression…a wonderfully imaginative romp.”
New York Times on ADAM & EVE
“Provocative”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061579271
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

Sena Jeter Naslund is the author of the novels Four Spirits and Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette and a short story collection, The Disobedience of Water. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she is a winner of the Harper Lee Award; Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville; director of the Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program; former poet laureate of Kentucky; and editor of The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-Lis Press.

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