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Eden
     

Eden

4.7 22
by Olympia Vernon
 

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A hypnotic, lyrical debut novel about a young black girl in the deep south who comes to confront the realities of sex, race, disease, and death, by a writer of extraordinary emotional depth.

“A profoundly raw and gripping read,” (The Baltimore Sun) Olympia Vernon’s fearless and wildly original debut novel explodes on the first page and sustains

Overview


A hypnotic, lyrical debut novel about a young black girl in the deep south who comes to confront the realities of sex, race, disease, and death, by a writer of extraordinary emotional depth.

“A profoundly raw and gripping read,” (The Baltimore Sun) Olympia Vernon’s fearless and wildly original debut novel explodes on the first page and sustains a tightrope intensity until the last. Set in Pyke County, Mississippi, Eden is a raw, heartbreaking, and enlightening novel that marks the emergence of a stunning and original talent. Narrated by fourteen-year-old Maddy Dangerfield, Eden opens in the moments after Maddy has impulsively drawn a naked woman on the pages of Genesis in bright red lipstick during Sunday service. The community is scandalized, and her devout, long-suffering mother’s response to her transgression is to force her to spend weekends nursing her dying Aunt Pip, an outcast who lives on the edge of town.

From then on, Maddy must negotiate her two worlds: at the house where she lives with her hard-working, Bible-reading mother, Faye, and her father, Chevrolet—a one-armed drunk, gambler and womanizer—she is both a reluctant participant in and astute observer of the strange and confounding dynamics of her sometimes violent, sometimes tender family. (Years before, Maddy’s grandmother—her mother’s mother—chopped of Chevrolet’s arm and fed it to the pigs after he and Pip were found together in the back room as Faye entertained friends from the church—and ever since, he has been am emasculated, desperate man—drinking and gambling his wife’s money away, leaving her to clean up his mess time and again.) And then out on Commitment Road, she is caretaker to her Aunt Pip, whose only friend is her eccentric neighbor, Fat. Maddy’s time with Pip and Fat opens her eyes to the exhilaration of speaking your own mind, living your life on your own terms and without apology, and also to the cost extracted by both. She learns that there are strengths that belong to women alone, and also that there is a kind of ravaging vulnerability that is terrifying and inescapable, and uniquely female.

The world Maddy inherits is one of injustice and hypocrisy, one that requires black people work for the whites for little to no pay; that sent her Uncle Sugar to jail for raping a white woman—no questions asked—when Maddy was just a baby; that preaches Christian love and forgiveness even as its actions reflect the very opposite. But Maddy soon learns that there is something that can work to oppose those truths, and that is knowledge; having the will and the ability to look beneath the surface, to question what others take as a given. By the end of the novel, newly acquainted with mortality and her own fierce strength, Maddy comes to bear both the burden and the blessing of that knowledge.

In lush, vivid brushstrokes, Olympia Vernon conjures a world that is both intoxicating and cruel, and illuminates the bittersweet transformation of the young girl who must bear the burden and blessing of its secrets too soon. Eden is a haunting, memorable novel propelled by the poetry and power of a voice that is complex, lyrical, and utterly true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vernon's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, 2003's Eden, is a dark and harrowing portrait of catastrophically scarred people in rural Valsin County, Miss. The sad story of Logic Harris, named after a word her mother saw in a magazine and pregnant by 13, will undoubtedly remind many readers of early Toni Morrison, particularly The Bluest Eye. Nearly killed as a child when she fell out of a tree, Logic is now "touched"-in every sense of the word: she "[doesn't] even talk in a straight line," and her father sexually abuses and impregnates her. But somehow, as Logic watches her neighbor's whoring and feels the growing "butterflies in her stomach," she retains an angelic innocence. All but abandoned by a used-up mother, who suffers "the drought of her wilted body" and secretly wishes her daughter dead, and an angry father teetering on the verge of insanity, Logic struggles to navigate the secrets and silences that have poisoned the adult world around her. Although Logic's hallucinogenic, disjointed outlook and language can be utterly incomprehensible at times, Vernon's alchemical imagination transforms passages that make no sense on their own ("a long death breathes nakedly behind the blood where red is turning sharp") into a whole as startlingly original, disconcerting and haunting as a fever dream. Agent, Amy William at Collins and McCormick. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Ironically named, Logic seems anything but. While growing up in rural and desolate Valsin County, Mississippi, Logic Harris, now 13, had a traumatic accident that makes it difficult for her to reason. The dialog of the title character and many of the others, especially the neighbor's son whom Logic calls "the tallest," makes little sense at times. The cast of characters is rich, though most seem eccentric and deeply troubled. One of the themes running throughout involves sexuality, often as it manifests itself in questionable and unhealthy ways. There is George, the neighborhood prostitute, and Logic's mother, Too, entrapped by fantasies and sexual longings. An ex-con working on the Harris's property is tormented by thoughts of The Principle, a man who raped him repeatedly while in prison. But nothing disturbs Logic more than David, her father, who rapes her on what she refers to as the "operating table." Pregnant, she enlists the help of "the tallest." The tallest molests his sister, and Logic too, all while enjoying dressing in his mother's clothing. But when Logic tells him about butterflies stirring in her stomach, he offers to help her release them. Armed with a clothes hanger, some alcohol, and cotton swabs, they attempt to solve the problem. Steeped in imagery, metaphor and allusion, the language is beautiful, poetic even, though largely incomprehensible. Though the novel is often a difficult read, there are a few predictable elements. For example, the gun that David carries is instrumental in his own demise, while Logic is preparing a set of wings that foreshadow her final flight. Readers who enjoy the work of Toni Morrison or Gayl Jones will probably appreciate this title. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2004, Grove, 254p., Ages 17 to adult.
—KaaVonia Hinton
Library Journal
If Vernon (Eden) intended to plop her readers into a world they won't understand-mirroring the experience of 13-year-old protagonist Logic Harris, a disabled girl impregnated by her father, neglected by her mother, and living in a place so remote it's as if time has stopped, Logic is successful, even brilliant. If, on the other hand, Vernon is going for a coherent narrative, she has failed badly. Despite an abundance of evocative images, the novel is laden with enigmatic statements that leave the reader with visual pictures but little clarity. Here, for example, is a conversation between a boy named the tallest and Logic: "Where your mama? asked Logic./ She gone to the doctor./ The doctor? repeated Logic./ Yeah, said the tallest. She got presidents inside her./ Presidents? Yeah, said the tallest, presidents./ Like who? Like Abe Lincolns./ Abe Lincolns?/ They got caught up yonder, said the tallest, pointing to his belly,/ downward. How they got caught up yonder?/ There was elected. The world put 'em in office./ What kind of office?/ The kidney." While much of Logic's dialog borders on gibberish, Vernon's lyrical descriptions capture a rural Mississippi rife with evil, where abuse, pathology, poverty, racism, and violence intertwine. Readers are invited to peer into this bleak, troubled place; the question is whether they'll languish once they arrive or find meaning in the chaos that surrounds them. Recommended for collections focused on sexual abuse and trauma only.-Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Second-novelist Vernon (Eden, 2003) reveals her southern antecedents in Faulkner and Morrison in a desperately sad tale of a retarded, abused young black girl in hopeless Valsin County, Mississippi. Thirteen-year-old Logic Harris fell from a tree and has never since been right in the head-she asks her mother, Too, a local midwife and white woman's maid, how to spell "heaven." Logic's father David Harris, a laconic, repressed man who works in the woodyard, has rejected Too and sexually abuses Logic, who believes that "a cloud of butterflies" floats in her stomach: she may or may not be pregnant. In any event, nobody seems to notice as her belly swells, whether from pregnancy or malnutrition. Across the street live a sick prostitute, George, and her four unschooled children from different fathers; George's visits from "the man made of paper" provide the narrative with some fodder, especially in George's oldest son, called merely "the tallest," who likes to dress in his mother's clothes and is the sole character who seems to understand and care for Logic. Little happens in this slim, richly metaphorical, nearly unreadable narrative, yet it holds the reader by its truly daring if not always successful figurative leaps ("The sun had risen into an unkept alphabet"). Logic speaks in parables, like Jesus, and indeed is compared to an innocent sacrificial lamb; she carries around wire hangers she wants her mother's employer, the Missis, to help her fashion into butterfly wings. As in Vernon's debut, a brutality fed by poverty and ignorance barely simmers under the surface, and acts of violence are likely to erupt at any moment-as with the appearance of an ex-con to delineate the Harris property inbarbed wire, a man who himself is haunted by the homosexual savagery he suffered from in prison. Vernon's vision is relentless, nearly misanthropic, often unintelligible except at a second reading. Altogether, Logic is like an early effort, before the author could hone her vision. Agent: Amy William/Collins and McCormick

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802140401
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/15/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,113,673
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

Logic


By Olympia Vernon

Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Olympia Vernon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8021-1771-6


Chapter One

David Harris was loading his pistol when the sun began to burn. He paused for a moment, the light coming toward him. My God, he could have run right now and caught it, his hands and body and full self trapped by it. But he knew, down there where words turn to jelly, that he had nowhere to put it. Just then he heard his daughter, Logic, ask Too how to spell heaven. He looked at his wife, Too, how molecular she was. Too was a maid and midwife for the folks in Valsin County, Mississippi. Everything that went into her mouth was broken into tiny pieces-the bones in her face fragile, the empty breasts, as if there was no fat beneath her nipples to push her self-esteem forward. Open your mouth and record the distance between air and lung, and you will notice an invisible line wrapped so tightly around the bones in Too Harris's throat that the transparency of the distance itself will cause you to suffocate. She took the cast-iron skillet off the fire and turned away from the stove, the sound of birds trampling on a large oak tree, and faced her daughter, the child she had named Logic, because she had seen the word on one of the Missis' magazines: a pale woman on the cover, her face upright and crooked, as if someone had dropped her entire body on concrete and cracked it at the jawbone.Finally, she answered Logic's question. "I s'pose you spell something like that by lookin' up," she said. And then, as if confirming the space of thought in her head, she repeated, "Yeah, you spell heaven by lookin' up." Logic's father, David, had loaded the pistol. He laid the gun down on the table beside her. Now he was thinking of the manner in which he entered the world. He could almost remember sound, its first coming, instinctual, a finger going down his throat, forcing him to cry. He felt the finger again, on his palate, as the voice of a man fell down upon his ears and made him cry even louder this time, the sound of a boy losing his strength. He picked up the gun and looked out into the heat: the wooden boards of the house were rotting from the inside. He had built this triangular house with what was left of his hands; he was sort of a mathematician. He had set each board perfectly into the map of the house, except one that lay unevenly on the rooftop; he had found it on the side of the road. A metal loop had been hammered into it, a chain looped through the center. Steel. "Where you headed?" The voice of his wife, Too, caused a gap in his breathing. "Nowhere," he said. With this, he opened the door to the house he had built with his own hands-to prove to himself that he was not completely a wasted mold of clay. He whispered something, his hand up to his mouth for a moment, as if he had been working on something combustible and it exploded in his face. * * *

Logic was in her bedroom lying on her back. She had long since touched her belly and discovered a cloud of butterflies floating around inside. She could feel them again. She began to laugh. She solved almost everything this way, with laughter. She felt a wing fluttering in her ovary. She touched her abdomen and began to follow the rhythm of blood flowing there. Or something else. Her room was the coldest. Even in summer, a breeze rode the space of her intimate bedroom, as she opened her mouth and caught it. She had not completely healed from the accident. Her mother came home from work one day and found her lying in the dust; she had fallen from the oak tree, her head filled with blood. Too thought she had been struck by a metal rod or an animal and washed the redness from her head; when Logic came to, she said she had fallen from the sky. Too gave her an elixir and waited for her to fall asleep. Something was there in the room. She heard it breathing and could almost see the thing she had heard pick up the square-shaped pillow with both hands, stand there above Logic's head, and come down upon it. There was a terrible gasp. You must bear down, kill the girl before she gasps again. In a little while she will be dead, and Too Harris will be in a white woman's window, watching the energy of a moving cloud. What had she done? Then, as if impossible, Too Harris realized that she alone was in the room. And she alone was holding the pillow. She hurried, as if urgency would cause her to forget, and collected a sewing needle, returning to Logic's bedside, where she had set the tools of surgery on an alabaster-white cloth: fishing twine, alcohol, fresh cotton, a leech. Logic was fast asleep when Too picked up the parasite and watched as it sucked the poison out of her child's head. She soaked the cotton with alcohol and pressed down on the cut. Next, the threading of the needle. The fishing twine entered the needle's eye; she lifted the soft flesh of Logic's scalp. The wound began to rise. She had closed it up. A few days later, she noticed that the child who had come from her stomach was no longer balanced in her footsteps. Part of her body seemed to have been metallicized. When she found her, she was in the shape of 45 degrees. Her words were not the same; they did not come from her body in the pattern of stars: every syllable surrounding her attitude, attached like a vein, a molecule. But for her laughter, Logic had become invisible. The butterflies had stopped their fluttering. Logic lifted herself from the bed. She looked around at the life-sized doll in the corner of the room. Of all the things around her-the lime-colored dinosaur with a horizontal bar of pink tape over its mouth; the musical clef note that she had traced from a tombstone; a paring knife, its sharp edge stained with blue ink, violated. But the doll-the doll she loved-the only thing given to her by her father after she had fallen from the sky. She called it Celesta. Her mother was in the next room. The house was built this way: three rooms on one side, the third being the operating room, where she had lain, after being sewn back together, on a long steel table her father had bought from a man in Pyke County. The man was convinced he had seen the feet of Jesus in the center of it and could not keep it because he was a sinner and did not want God in his house: he was plastic. "Logic!" yelled Too. "You best be gettin' to bed now." The doll was in Logic's hands. She looked at the face where she had painted her lips candy-apple red, the dark pupils she had slowly begun to gouge out because they were artificial, the almond-colored skin. "I know." Soon after, she began to undress. She looked at herself in the mirror-her breasts were beginning to swell. Her body was emaciated; she felt she had a pyramid in her bones. The straight, invisible line that connected her nipples, the perfect navel in the center of her stomach, creating the image of a measurement that was equal on all sides-she had inherited the genes of her father the mathematician. She parted the hairs on her head and touched the feeling. Yes, it was the parasite that had left its feeling upon her. She felt it tickling her at times: the blood racing, pounding upward. She could control the feeling when she wanted. By swallowing. There on the edge of her dresser lay the panties and gown that her mother had readied for her. She was thirteen now, but she had not learned the stability of time, how things were to be put in order. She lived in a place where time did not exist; she dreamed, on many occasions, of death and believed it came in threes. This is the memory that lived within her: three spirits into the Ultimate one, the number of days at a time that she'd stopped eating, the pointed invisible lines of the triangle, the alphabets of YOU-those which she added to herself, her vocabulary with a distinction that required no urgency, as it passed through her lungs-a slow rising of the tongue, as if a baby had slept there unmoved. She knelt down, her hands folded, and began to talk to God. Her mother lay on the other side of the wall, her flat body against the sheets. Her room was without light. She turned to ask God something and grew faceless, as if she did not exist at all in this unbehaved environment, as if it were God in the room with her in the early day, watching her hold the pillow: He saw she had suffocated the child, if only in her dreams. For a spell, that season which comes and goes when a woman is restless, fascinated by her own accident, she wanted to crawl into bed with her daughter, ask her to pray for the thing that held the moment in its hands, so it would not come back again. Perhaps she knew that, were it to return, there would be a gasp that would split the belly of a quiet cloud and land high, up there where things go noticed, and come down, like oxygen, upon the earth and crush it. Logic blew out the flame of a small lantern that stood beside her bed. The scent of the kerosene rose in the air, as she imagined herself opening up from the inside, where she believed there was a bed of larvae. Soon she would need an open door, a valve, to release them into the earth again. The image lay bound to the ink of the paring knife-its wings soon to be carved on the surface of her stomach. When her father came home, his feet winding down, stopping near the operating room, she turned over and reminded herself to staple Celesta's lips together by morning. (Continues...)


Excerpted from Logic by Olympia Vernon Copyright © 2004 by Olympia Vernon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Eden 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was the cover of Ms. Vernon's novel Logic that first caught my eye; it was her original prose that caught my brain and would not let go. I have met and emailed Ms. Vernon, and have found a refuge like one finds in a friend, in her words. Logic is a tale of a people. Not a black southern people, but of a forgotten people. Logic speaks out about the people who are dying from the inside out, and they know it. These are the people that make up the majority of our society. Even the 13 year old protagonist fully understands her fate. I still do not know if I like Logic like I like ice cream, but the words can not be ignored. Ms. Vernon's prose is different, you will not understand every single connection she is trying to make, but the journey is well worth it. I have not stopped thinking about the novel since I finished it,and I doubt I ever will. This book is like nothing I have ever read. That, to me, is the greatest achievement of an author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From page one, I couldn't put Logic down. It held me spellbound to the very last page and when I closed the book, I just sat and thought I have to read it again, did I take it all in. These thoughts ran through my head as I considered the beauty of Logic and wished I would have been just below her as she jumped off the roof to catch her in my arms. I wanted to be Logic's friend and the friend of the 'tallest' even though he allowed his evil to trigger him at moments. The tragedy of their lives gripped me. Olympia's literary style is raw, yet entrancing at the same time. The poignancy of her words do not allow your release from the pages till its very end. As I read, I saw everything as if there were a moviescreen displayed inside my head. One cannot let Logic go unread.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Olympia Vernon is a national talent that continues to eclipse the reader¿s consciousness with dizzying word portraits that tell with resounding truth of lives experienced without pity. Logic, her latest work, employs characters that exist within worlds built upon memory, perception, and traditions steeped in the South and the Western religious perspective. Vernon¿s words do not simply rise from the page; they take flight as words dissolve into metaphorical and allegorical geographies of the mind. Told from the mind of a ¿retarded¿ girl too simple, yet too proud to regard herself as disabled, Logic¿s story is of the sensual and the tactile. The intimacy of flesh is revealed through the story, and Vernon does not allow the reader pause to reflect upon their pity for these characters. Instead, the beauty of Vernon¿s words is in the immediacy of their actions and visions. We are in the hands of a master storyteller whose characters will live unashamed within America¿s history of the inequities against ignorance, the poor, and the exploitation of the innocent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was vulgar and hard to understand. I know the author meant well but efforts came up a little bit short. It was very moving how Maddy got to know her aunt more but all of the vulgar language and terms/visions/dreams were not very appealing to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My spirit gasped as I read the Prologue of Logic. The parallels of spirit and world, this life and His being in it. Olympia Vernon's voice is a moment standing still. The quiet and smooth grasp of a moment, in time. Logic Harris' innocence is like pinpricks in her belly, like the 'butterflies' fluttering inside her. She is a child, a daughter, a victim of her surroundings. These surroundings are not nurturing but numbing. Olympia's metaphor of the lamb reminds me of how every character needs to be picked up and mended by Him, spiritual imagery remains throughout the novel. Too Harris, the mother that no one wants to have or be. Logic, her daughter, helpless and simple. Born into a life without frills, without light; longing, unknowingly for light to burn through and shine on the darkness of this time, uncivilized. Its children, the products of un-civilization. The Tallest, a neighbor, although growing up with the love of his mama, must find his own way. The Tallest and Logic are a team together, unknowingly piecing their world together like a map. Logic's best friend, Celesta, is made of stuffing, stitching and sometimes staples. The Missis, employer of Too, tries to make good of the bad and the weakness she feels. There is an inner battle of spirit and man, between sin and what's right. This is underlined as a constant struggle with David and Too Harris. Logic is the constant reminder of how they are not the goodness that God wants. David Harris knows he is filled with the darkness of sin, he cannot stand near Logic when she prays. The day to day life in Valsin County, Mississippi is an eyeful of how death lives in life. Olympia Vernon's words are poetry running through these dark pages with sparks of light, like the lighting bugs (fireflies) trapped in the 'operating room'. Logic is the voice that can let them out by opening the window, her soul on every page. There are parts of this novel that will make you cringe. Your legs tingle with unbelief that this stark reality is even happening in your mind, in the world. The picture of words are slowly taking place in your imagination and you read, en-captured by the rawness of the text!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Miss Vernon's style of writing makes the words 'come alive.' This story is incredibly interesting and took my breathe away. I read it aloud to myself and just loved it. I shared this book with friends and co-workers and they all have nothing but good things to say about the passages throughout the book.I am really looking forward to reading more material from this up and coming author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eden had hold of my attention from beginning to end. It's a very powerful noval with a unique style of writing that keeped me captivated from page to page. I didn't want to put it down. The life threw the eyes of Maddy brought tears to my eyes. I felt the pain and sorrow her Aunt Pip and mother was going threw. Although very sad and moving I enjoyed reading Eden very much. I could see that ant stand up as the rain drops fell on and around it. This book touched my heart, unforgetable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While reading Eden, I could hear Olympia Vernon¿s voice through her style, tuning every word like an instrument. I see strength in these characters. It is what they find their strength in that is different; this is a place that haunts them, hurts them or may heal them. Each character needs to find strength just to get by in their life walk. We can spy on them through Maddy; she is in the midst of adolescence, finding her own areas of strength to get by. She is growing up by visualizing and feeling the gut revelations that we all learn from family. Through watching the lives of those around her, Maddy sees that love, strength and truth do not always exist together in the same places. It is such a real to life revelation how family teaches us disappointment. There is also a strong sense of longing throughout Eden. Pip displays this longing. I love her name; it is like a flashback to how she used to be lively and exciting. She was once a free spirited beauty who found her strength in men. This caused her to betray her own sister Faye, and so she must live and die as an outcast from her family. What was once strength in her life cheated her by giving her loneliness. Mama Faye finds her strength in Jesus. This helps her function as a savior to her family. She needs His strength to overcome her husband¿s ways and heal the past hurt of betrayal. Chevrolet seems to find his strength in avoiding mama¿s Jesus. He gets messed up in the Jesus of the world, who seems to always be after him. He gambles with Jesus so much that his life is always on the line. Eden is a peek into rural southern living, filled with mystery and anticipation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was great. The characters seem so real. the darkness and grittyness of the book truely got to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sense of time, even in these days of requisite hyper/movement, is suspended and discarded during the while that it takes to imbibe of Eden. After the first sip, seeing and actually feeling the oily red lipstick on the well worn parchment paper of a Bible, you are hooked. And when you finish, you enjoy the heady sensation that comes with having just having tasted the nectar of the Gods. Intoxicating yet so refreshing amidst formulas and contrivance, Eden.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Genius is the word that came to mind as I read the pages of Vernon's novel. This portrayal of Southern Black folk culture is one that is familiar and home to me. This haunting novel is one that draws you in and won't let go until the very last drop. Much enjoyed, highly recommended, and looking forward to more to come from this gifted author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eden truly touched me from beginning to end. Each time I picked it up to read, I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to know the characters personally, sit down and talk to them or just watch them live their lives. I felt close to them like they were taken from my past and I was now witnessing the continuing saga of their lives. The words are beautifully written. Fresh, smooth, easily digested words, phrases, references, connected me with the author. I loved that every time I read a page I could see it as if I were standing their watching as Chevrolet arm was being eaten by the hog, and I could see Fat washing herself outside and I felt that pain of death in the end. Reading Eden gives you a taste of Southern black culture that is not often seen and will have you wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Olympia Vernon follows in no one's footsteps. If you like southern fiction, and/or myth, then you'll love Eden. The writing is gorgeous and mysterious. A blend of the other-worldly and her attention to the senses, to the southern landscape, makes this gothic in a sense, and the language is extraordinary. 14 year old Maddy's struggle with her dying aunt (stricken with cancer) confirms the communion of our race, how we all need and depend on each other; how those closest to us can hurt us the most. I saw this in the relationship between the father's gambling problem and the mother's need to rescue him, the blame that the "Christian" community placed on Maddy's parents--and on Maddy (for drawing a picture of a naked lady in church). Her family (and others) are branded as non-elect. In the end, Maddy realizes that a different kind of justification exists for outsiders--over and above the kind offered by hypocrites. I read Eden in two days, and I will continue to read it again and again for as long as I live. This book is destined to be anthologized and enjoyed for decades.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The energy from Eden emerged from the pages and through my spirit. Being a native from Jackson, Mississippi; I have once seen the life of Maddy Dangerfield. Vernon's prolific writing style has touched me like no other author. The birth of Eden has given the life of reading a new meaning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rarely do I make it a point to complete a book in two days, but this novel grabs you and takes you to a world mixed with delicious images of religion, sexual revolution and the power of a WOMAN. With her first novel, Olympia Vernon has nestled herself on top of the world of fiction. She is the rare addition to writing that we all want and need. Bravo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I call EDEN a ¿POWERFUL EXPLOSIVE merely because of its ¿POWER¿ to portray the events that may have happened in times past and the many conflicts and inner emotions that its characters face, which can be evident in today's society. It is spell binding in the fact that it keeps the reader focus as the story takes it different twists and turns.Eden resonates. Eden makes one tap deeply into his or her emotional and spiritual selves. Eden has that power. Having read it, I find myself enlightened to the ideas and conflicts of the Maddy, Faye, Fat, Chevrolet and Pip, as well as my own internal passions, conflicts, and ideas.Eden is not only about good versus evil. It's also about forgiving and forgetting. It's about sadness, loss, the irreversible passage of time, and the nature of humanity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eden is one of those few literary works that consistently holds your attention from the first page to the last page. The imagery conveyed in this novel makes you feel like you are actually experiencing Maddy's evolution, from the stereotypial societal notions of "being a woman" to accepting womanhood and femininity on her own terms. Already wise beyond her years, she evolves from the intelligent child to the enlightened "young woman," whose changed view of the world results in a new found "realism" that causes her to re-evaluate the accepted roles of sex, race, and religion in the world of Pyke County. This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book tremendously. It was one that I could not put down. The difference between one Jesus and the real Jesus and Maddy was quite an experience. I would love a second series to see what type of woman she would grow up to be, having such experiences as a child. And I would like to also know if Chevrolet became a Christian and more respectful to Faye. The book is also a tear-jerker with the church scene. It was a book that was spellbounding and can be applied to everyone's life that read it. When is the next episode?
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Eden' is the best novel anyone's written in a long time. Like many good first novels, it sits bravely on top of the thing that is out of whack in the universe, the flaw that must have been there at the Big Bang and expanded outward at the speed of light. But 'Eden' stands the whole mess on its head when it whispers in a young girl's voice, 'I am not afraid.' This novel transmutes the pain of a kid's hard luck family into a prose poetry we haven't heard since the the novels of the 1930s. I kept thinking of Henry Miller. Why? Maybe because young Olympia Vernon is fearless, as was Miller; and maybe because she perfects something almost unheard of in America: an authentic ¿ rather than fake Harvard or Yale ¿ working class voice. The novel is so perfectly the thing that it is, and so different, that it sent me scurrying to reread 'Tropic of Cancer;' both hum a great symphony right out of the bloodstream and the womb; and both novels shock with blood and sex and yet somehow ineffably distill a wondering light from what a lesser writer would report only as a scary darkness. And both are unforgetable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished Eden last night...it was great...nicely written where you could put yourself in Maddys place and feel the things she was feeling for her Mom, Dad and Aunt Pip...she was from a strong mother who worked hard for the things she believed in and tried to do her best to keep her family surviving by doing all in her power to keep Chevrolet out of trouble with his gambling debts and still indirectly care for her dying relative..Maddy's care and concern for her sick Aunt Pip was heart filling....I enjoyed the book alot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eden was a really great book to read. Every character I read was so real to me. The person I could really relate to was Maddy. It some really deep stuff in there that you couldn't believe at all. Each chapter I read seemed like a movie. To the Writer: This was an excellent book and I'm really looking forward to reading your next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I seem to be in the minority here, but I did not like this book. I struggled with this book, and actually read 4 other novels while trying to complete Eden. I thought it was wordy, and felt the author's launguage was belabored, at best. I thought she was trying to fill shoes like Toni Morrison or Alice Walker and came up short. Out of the entire book, only one passage appealed to me. I may read one of Vernon's books again, but not before she has grown as a writer, and finds her own voice.