Eveless Eden

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Overview

Eveless Eden tells the story of a passionate love affair between a foreign correspondent for an American newspaper and the tough, sexy, talented photographer he meets at the site of an ecological disaster in Africa. Noah swings between disillusion and romanticism, cynicism and faith, despair and hope, as he and Lilith pursue their adventure in Paris, London, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and through the scandal of AIDS tainted blood in the orphanages of Nicolai Ceausescu's Romania. Lilith's fateful attraction ...
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Overview

Eveless Eden tells the story of a passionate love affair between a foreign correspondent for an American newspaper and the tough, sexy, talented photographer he meets at the site of an ecological disaster in Africa. Noah swings between disillusion and romanticism, cynicism and faith, despair and hope, as he and Lilith pursue their adventure in Paris, London, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and through the scandal of AIDS tainted blood in the orphanages of Nicolai Ceausescu's Romania. Lilith's fateful attraction to danger makes her vulnerable to the seductive appeal of a mysterious Romanian, Adam Pentru, a man of evil genius, Minister of Trade in the Ceausescu government and a spy for the British. When Adam enters the picture, the story darkens and narrative suspense mounts, as Noah struggles to piece together a story more horrifying than any he has ever covered. Eveless Eden offers a sweeping vision of individual, political, and global evil in the modern world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wiggins (John Dollar; Bet They'll Miss Us When We're Gone) treats the Bible, its characters and its literary conventions like clay in this maniacally energetic, densely allusive novel. The plot involves a love triangle amidst the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, and the themes include the search for moral direction amidst the accelerated pace of history. But the book is really about the voice of its narrator, a macho yet tender-hearted newspaperman named Noah, who, like his biblical namesake, is looking for a fresh start, a reprieve from a sinful world. ``What I wanted more than anything,'' he admits, ``was a reborn innocence.'' Unlike the ark-builder, this Noah has to work without benefit of a cleansing flood. But he does have to deal with the sins of a man named Adam, in this case a Minister of Trade in Ceausescu's Romania, and with the woman they both love, a photographer named Lilith (who succinctly sums up the symbolism of her name by explaining: ``chick God made for Adam before Eve''). Noah and Lilith meet in Cameroon while covering a story about an ecological mishap (not a flood, but close). The pair live and work together in Paris and London, until Lilith is hit by a car driven by Adam Pentr. Why Lilith leaves Noah for Adam is only superficially explained: she is drawn to power and danger, and Adam offers both. As Adam's mistress, Lilith also gets the chance secretly to photograph his involvement in the infamous Romanian orphanages and his trafficking in AIDS-infected blood. All of this is told in the nearly hysterical, often exhilarating voice of Noah, who, pursuing their trail, refers obsessively to books and movies, while across the tops of the pages, instead of chapter headers, there run parodies of Bible captions (e.g., ``what he feared'' and ``the aroma of Southern tobacco''). Wiggins leans too heavily on Noah's voice, on its heady blend of cynicism and passion, at the expense of fuller characterization (of Lilith and Adam) and smooth plotting. Less about the lovers than about the time they love in, this isn't a novel of great psychological complexity. But it is one of formidable intelligence and momentum. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Wiggins's (Bet They'll Miss Us When We're Gone, LJ 6/1/91) fifth novel is intriguing. The ill-fated love affair between Noah, a foreign correspondent, and Lilith, a driven freelance photographer, is set against world events from 1986 to 1991. When Lilith suddenly leaves Noah for Adam, a trade minister for Ceausescu's Romania, Noah struggles to discover Adam's connection to HIV-infected blood products and orphanages. His quest addresses the nature of evil, love, personal courage, and principles. Of minor concern is placing the evil Adam in an actual political position within the Ceausescu regime without a disclaimer. Wiggins's audience will be primarily literary; adventure seekers will tire of her word play and philosophizing. She may be exorcising demons of her own, but it's largely worth the ride. For large fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/95.]-Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060927608
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 7.52 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marianne Wiggins
Marianne Wiggins
Marianne Wiggins’s novels engage both with the tumult of history and the shadowed depths of the human heart. From the making of the atomic bomb to the capturing of the American West on film, this award-winning writer has taken on some of the most complex topics in contemporary fiction.

Biography

Marianne Wiggins was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Brussels, Rome, Paris, and London. She is the author of ten books of fiction, including John Dollar and Evidence of Things Unseen, for which she was a National Book Award finalist in fiction, as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has won an NEA grant, the Whiting Writers' Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. She is Professor of English at the University of Southern California. (Author biography courtesy of Simon and Schuster.)
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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 8, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      Manheim Township High School, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

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  • Posted August 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This novel is both a thriller and a love story inextricably link

    This novel is both a thriller and a love story inextricably linked to the major events that took place between 1986 and 1991: the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the downfall of the Ceausescu and the subsequent ending of the Communist regime in Romania. In the novel’s foreground are Noah John and Lilith da Vinci, a journalist and photographer respectively, who embark on a torrid affect that will inevitably, like the times they live in, change their lives forever.
    I believe that any novel’s protagonists should have at least one good virtuous characteristic, one redeemable trait that a reader can use to justify following the character’s story through the novel. But in Noah John there is nothing to hang that particular hat on. He is a weak, charmless character who commits an abominable act halfway through the book that is never fully addressed. Though this act is an allusion to what is happening and will happen in Germany it still cannot be forgiven and for me was a emotional distraction as I read the rest of the book.
    Lilith da Vinci is a more redeemable character but still not that likeable. She is a strong, brave character, sexual permissive and has a belief in highlighting, through her photographs, the horrors of war and the world we live in.
    The backdrop that the novel is set against and the protagonist’s part in these events is what makes the novel interesting and worthwhile reading. The novel’s allegorical structure, set as it is within the historically tumultuous five years that shook the world to its political and social foundations, allows the lover’s affair and characterization to reflect and imbue the time they are living through.
    Many of the novel’s minor characters are poorly and lazily drawn. For instance Noah’s Scottish friend is called Mac and is a heavy drinker. The author writes some of Mac’s dialogue in the vernacular but spells the words phonetically.
    The novel’s backdrop and how these world events and the reader’s knowledge of how these will affect the 1990s and the 21st century is what makes this book readable, not the main characters Noah and Lilith who at times appear nothing more than ciphers to decode a world in upheaval. Then again maybe this was the author’s intention.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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