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Adam & Eve: A Novel [NOOK Book]

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"...

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Adam & Eve: A Novel

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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.

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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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062013828
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 472,021
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Sena Jeter Naslund

Sena Jeter Naslund is a cofounder and program director of the Spalding University (Louisville) brief-residency MFA in Writing, where she edits The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press. A winner of the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction award, she is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including Ahab's Wife, a finalist for the Orange Prize. She recently retired from her position as Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville.

Biography

Sena Jeter Naslund grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where she attended public schools and received a B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College. She has also lived in Louisiana, West Virginia, and California. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. In addition to two other novels and two collections of short stories, her short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review and many others.

For 12 years she directed the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville, where she teaches and holds the title Distinguished Teaching Professor. Concurrently, she is a member of the M.F.A. in Writing faculty of Vermont College. She is cofounder and editor of the literary magazine The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-lis Press, housed at Spaulding University, and has taught at the University of Montana and Indiana University. She is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

Good To Know

Naslund is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council.

She has taught literature since 1972, directing the creative writing program at University of Louisville, where she was awarded its first-ever Distinguished Teaching Professor honor.

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    1. Hometown:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A., Birmingham-Southern College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa Writers' Workshop

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Story of New Beginings

    "Adam & Eve" by Sena Jeter Naslund is a fic­tional book which tries to tackle the evo­lu­tion / cre­ation­ism debate through its char­ac­ters and via the sto­ry­line. The book encom­passes a love story, thriller and mys­tery in short space.

    Lucy Bergmann watched her hus­band die in, what she thought, was a freak acci­dent. He has entrusted Lucy with his life's work on, appro­pri­ately enough, a mem­ory drive (thumb drive, flash drive)proof of extrater­res­trial life which she wears around her neck.

    The Bergmann's friend, Pierre Saad dis­cov­ers a new ver­sion of the bib­li­cal book "Gen­e­sis". Together with the proof of extrater­res­trial life these dis­cov­er­ies threaten Judaism, Chris­tian­ity and Islam which makes Lucy and Pierre tar­gets. When Lucy's plane crushes, she finds her­self in the Gar­den of Eden with an Amer­i­can solider named Adam who believes she is his Eve.

    "Adam & Eve" by Sena Jeter Naslund is a story about begin­nings, rein­vent­ing one­self and is full of metaphors about the gen­e­sis and Gen­e­sis. Clearly we've taken things lit­er­ally and out of con­text when it comes to reli­gion and just as well it is easy to do so with this book.

    The writ­ing also reminded me of the way the bible is writ­ten, it is lyri­cal with beau­ti­ful prose and well writ­ten. The Hebrew bible is not full of "thy" and "thou" but is writ­ten in sim­ple lan­guage, poetic and to a mea­sured beat. I have no idea why the trans­la­tors chose to trans­late in a high brow man­ner and even change some of the mean­ings -- but that's a dif­fer­ent discussion.

    I did enjoy the book but I think it would be bet­ter enjoyed with mul­ti­ple read­ings, get­ting accus­tomed to the writ­ing style took me a while, I was almost a quar­ter way through the book before I got used to it and about half way through before I real­ized that the book is try­ing to tell an alle­gor­i­cal story. This is when I gave the plot holes, some huge, a pass.

    Actu­ally, the story becomes less inter­est­ing when the author leaves the deno­ta­tive approach and becomes lit­eral. How­ever, to her credit it must be said that the theme of "Gen­e­sis", in terms of adapt­ing, sur­viv­ing, and rein­vent­ing, is always present.

    The theme of "Gen­e­sis", not is in ori­gin, but as an event that begins some­thing, is a premise that I can iden­tify with and spoke to me through­out the book. I have lived in sev­eral coun­tries and in many cul­tures: rural, city, sub­ur­ban and even in a col­lec­tive for a large part of my life. Each time it was the end of one thing and the begin­ning of other. Each one was dif­fi­cult but frankly I feel sorry for those who born and die within a 5 mile radius and never expe­ri­ence any­thing dif­fer­ent. This is espe­cially sad in the United States where young peo­ple rarely travel and older o

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2010

    Fascinating Premise, Boring Overwrought Delivery

    Having read "Abundance" by Naslund, I felt I understand her approach and was expecting a highly detailed book. But I also thought there would be a story that made some sense. This is more than fantasy, with the main character being "by the way" a great aviator - please! The author is brilliant at writing the longest description of the briefest action. Is that always bad? No, I love words. But, in this case, the details of the adventure in "Eden" are slow and tedious, and describing how the air goes in and out of someone's mouth, how it affects their nostrils and lips and senses...too much and not that interesting!
    I still can't make much sense of the big discovery. Naslund takes forever to get there and then turns it into a Cussler-type escape. But Clive does it much better and makes it fun.
    I rated it high for a book club discussion because if there are others willing to read this book, it might be fun to diss it to death. Then again, I would kill the person who suggested it. This may be one of the worst books I have ever read, because it is full of self importance.
    For readers looking for Eden, love, fabulous prose, or simply an engaging rainy day book, don't waste your time.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wish The End Would Have Been As Good As The Begining

    I have started, deleted, started again, and deleted again more times than I think you really want to know or I am willing to admit to. I have even wasted an hour on Facebook, avoiding this review. For some reason I'm having a damned hard time reviewing this one and after about 2 hours of this, I think I know the answer why. I loved the first 2/3 of the book, the last 1/3, I could really do without. My problem is that last 1/3 is tainting my whole view of the book.

    I loved the way the characters are introduced, especially Lucy and Adam. Lucy is happily married art therapist, who get to travel the world with her husband as he attends conferences. After his tragic death, by a falling piano, her world is turned upside down for a bit. A year later, when she is attending a conference in Cairo, being held to honor her deceased husband, she is still consumed by grief. When her plane crashes into a sea, she climbs out, shedding her burning clothing as she goes. By the time she reaches land, she is naked, hurt and searching for the naked man she saw as her plane was going down.

    We first meet Adam after he has been abandoned by his captors who have stripped, raped, and beaten him repeatedly. He is mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically broken. Because of the setting he wakes up in, he thinks he is the Adam of the Bible and has been personally created by the hand of God. He has decided living in a religious haze is better than dealing with the truth. It doesn't help that he was already traumatized by the war itself. Once Lucy joins him, he thinks God has finally sent him his Eve.

    When these two characters come together I loved it. Their interactions are fascinating to read and their story is told in a wonderfully quirky way that I find compelling. Even when another American soldier joins them in Eden, I love the way all three of them work together. There is a wonderfully drawn out examination of the themes behind the original Adam & Eve, but it's not done in a literal manner. Everything is done in metaphor and comparison, and all of it in such a subtle manner that you could just choose to ignore it all and enjoy the story for itself.

    It's when Lucy and Adam are taken out of that setting that I started to not appreciate what it was I was reading. Out of that context, I found the religious explorations to be a little too heavy handed and not all that interesting. There was no longer a smoothness about the story that I had been enjoying and the themes felt a little too forced at times and a bit boring on top of it. I don't think it helped that the bad guys were one dimensional and took away from the story. I would have either liked a bigger, meaner villain or no villains at all.

    If I was forced to give an answer to the question of whether or not I liked the overall story, I would have to say yes. But it would be a hesitant yes that just as easily been a no.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    This novel begins with a piano falling on a man and killing him.

    This novel begins with a piano falling on a man and killing him. The piano is being hoisted into the window of a third-storey apartment, being too large to fit in an elevator or negotiate the stairwells.

    In hindsight this should have tipped me off. Why would someone be standing under a piano? Wouldn’t the sidewalk be cordoned off? I mean most people won’t walk under a ladder, but this character stood under a piano being hoisted up three storeys?

    I kept on reading because the plot sounded fascinating – an astrophysicist has evidence of extraterrestrial life, an anthropologist has discovered ancient writings that cast in doubt the Book of Genesis. Evidence of both these revelations comes into the possession of one woman who is pursued by fundamentalist of three faiths who don’t want this information revealed to the public.

    It sounds like an action thriller along the lines of the Da Vinci Code. It’s not.

    Long descriptive passages bog down the narrative, conversations lead to nothing, and when the plot (finally) advances it’s with contrived scenes that push the suspension of belief, well, beyond belief.

    Add to that an ending that leaves so many situations unresolved I had to look back to see if I’d missed a chapter and what you’ve got is a “literary fiction” at its worst.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Starteller PLZ READ IF U WANT TO BE IN THE TRIBe

    Sorry guys! Its actually at res four! My mistake!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Adam and Eve

    I have told several people that "The Four Spirits" is perhaps my all time favorite book. So when I saw this title I bought it without hesitation. Wow, what a disappointment!
    I read once that a writer must always remember verisimillitude when writing, even if the book is science fiction. Thr reader must be able to agree with the author to "believe" for the duration of their ride together. That is where this book failed and, and failed miserably. For one thing, and this is just a minor detail compared with all the instances of the braking of the reality of the book, no woman in the world would not be at least subliminally aware of "all those Lucy's"! And to compound this and make that one of the major points of the ENTIRE book ( I was so tired of hearing about it from Lucy by the end of the book), come on! Too many coincidences, unreal characterizations, and I could't agree more with the first review here about the ending. I actually had to fight with myself to finsh the last 60 pgs or so. Seriously, speaking as a voracious reader, skip this one.

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    Posted April 16, 2011

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    Posted October 29, 2010

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    Posted January 2, 2011

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