Adam and Eveby Sena Jeter Naslund
"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"… See more details below
"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 human-ity---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 memebers 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.
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?
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
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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One of the oldest stories ever told, that of Adam and Eve, gets a unique remake of sorts in Sena Jeter Naslund's Adam & Eve. Lucy is in Amsterdam for a scientific conference with her husband Thom, an astrophysicist of renown, who tells Lucy that he has proof of extraterrestrial life. He gives Lucy a memory stick that contains all of his evidence. Thom is killed by a falling piano, and Lucy is devastated. Still grieving her loss three years later, Lucy is invited to welcome scientists to a conference in Cairo. It is too much for her, and she breaks down on stage. She meets a young woman who takes Lucy to her father, a scientist Lucy met at the conference. They convince Lucy to smuggle something out of Egypt for them- an alternate version of the book of Genesis that they have found buried. There are fundamentalist Christians, Muslim extremists and literalist Jews who have banded together to stop anyone from finding out about this discovery, even willing to kill to prevent the world from reading this other Genesis. Lucy agrees to fly a plane to France with the scripture, but her plane crashes and she is discovered by Adam, a young soldier who was kidnapped and assaulted by soldiers. Adam believes that Lucy is his Eve and that they are living in the Garden of Eden. This is a big book, full of so many themes it can make your head spin. Lucy and Adam's life in Eden parallels the Biblical story, particularly when another soldier lands in their garden. His presence dramatically changes the dynamic of the Garden. Is he the embodiment of the devilish snake from Genesis? The violence that is an everyday part of life in the Middle East is explored as a root cause of the rise of dangerous religious fundamentalism. Throw in the possibility of life on other planets and the fear of that knowledge endangering religious doctrine. Add in the discovery of very early human drawings in caves in France and you've got a lot to think about. Naslund has packed a lot of ideas into 350 pages, and her characters are well-drawn and interesting. Lucy and Adam's life in the garden is fascinating, and thriller fans will be rewarded with an action-packed sequence that resolves the story. Adam & Eve is the thinking person's answer to The DaVinci Code.
In 2017, renowned astrophysicist Thom Bergmann cannot hide his euphoria as he informs his wife Lucy that he has found extraterrestrial life. He gives her his flash drive data for safekeeping as he knows there are those who prefer to bury facts that they believe counter their religious system. Before Thom can go public, he is murdered. The Perpetuity rejects any proof that dares to oppose their fundamentalism. They destroy the evidence and assassinate the heretics. The leaders send fanatics to stalk Lucy. While grieving her loss, Lucy is contacted by a friend of her late spouse Pierre Saad. He asks her to help him smuggle out of Egypt an ancient codex that that retells the Creation story of Adam and Eve from a perspective that would devastate the three major monotheistic religions. The Perpetual will die if necessary while trying to kill Lucy and Pierre as heretics and burn the scroll before they allow this to occur. With multiple over the top story lines that only interact through Lucy, Adam and Eve is an odd thriller that feels like several short stories, which never quite gel into a cohesive tale. For instance, the title is based on Lucy crashing a plane in Iraq and meeting a crazed GI as they establish an Eden. Still fans who enjoy the creationist vs. evolutionist debate will appreciate this convoluted spin in which Sena Jeter Naslund makes the case that regardless of your belief, lunacy is war. Harriet Klausner