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Adam & Eve: A Novel Hardcover – September 28, 2010

2.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
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From Booklist

This outlandish stew of biblical analogy, political thriller, futuristic speculation, and old-fashioned adventure story by the best-selling author of Ahab’s Wife (1999) teases and frustrates the reader. Lucy Bergmann is, in her own words, an “ordinary wife of a revered man.” Her husband, highly regarded in the international scientific community, has discovered evidence of extraterrestrial life. Accompanied by Lucy, he takes his findings to a conference in Cairo (the time is a decade from now) and unexpectedly dies there, leaving his material in Lucy’s care. Adding to the distress of sudden widowhood and guardianship of revolutionary data, she is asked to smuggle to Europe an ancient codex offering a new version of the Book of Genesis. The plane she pilots—yes, she just happens to be a pilot!—crashes, affording her an encounter with the gorgeous Adam, an injured, delusional American soldier. They build a relationship in what they regard as Eden, but they must eventually forsake this lush garden to rejoin society; the whys and hows of their expulsion are an even match with the amazing events that have come before. For the first half of the novel, there may be reluctance to suspend disbelief in the incredible events that unfold. Eventually, however, many will find the metaphorical loftiness engaging. --Brad Hooper

More to Explore
Read an essay by Sena Jeter Naslund about writing Adam & Eve [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061579271
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About 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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You know when you love an author, and you love her previous novels, and you very excitedly get to read the new one...and you really don't love it. Or hardly like it? That's what the deal is with this novel. I LOVE Naslund, Ahab's Wife was so awesome, I loved it so, despite it not being a well received book at my book group, I was Ahab's champion! So it was with great excitement that I started reading this new novel with what I thought was such a fabulous premise. The wife of an astrophysicist who has made a startling discovery about extraterrestrial life in the universe must go forward after her husband's mysterious death...but it just didn't work.

Naslund is usually so great with he characters, but I just felt confused about them here. The main character, Lucy is thrust into intrigue and mystery when she meets Pierre Saad, a French-Egyptian, who entrusts her to deliver a codex with explosive new writings about Genesis back to France. Her plane crashes and she finds herself a new Eve to Adam, a mentally damaged US soldier who has been gang raped and beaten by Iraqi thugs and dumped for dead. Weirdness ensues.

I really was very intrigued by the story line spelled out on the back of the book, but Naslund doesn't follow through with her promise. The book sputters and sturggles to find itself, and verges on sappy romance occasionally. I felt the book was very self indulgent exercise in fantasy for the author, which is not to say that cannot sometimes be a good thing. But I fear I will not so happily anticipate her next book either. I predict this novel will be a big disappointment for fans of Abundance and Ahab's Wife. Perhaps Naslund should stick with the successful historical fiction genre in the future, which is what she does best.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is so bad I really have to wonder if it was co-written by James Patterson !
This evening, I finally finished struggling through this book, hoping that at some point all of its bizarre inexplicable dead ends would come together and make sense. Instead I had to suffer through an ending containing a plot device so contrived and dreadful that I doubt Greg Iles would stoop so low as to use it.
The author has some good ideas, any one of which would have made a good novel had she stuck with and explored them fully. Instead this novel lunges from idea to idea interspersed with pathetic plot devices more deserving of pulp fiction: In one typical scene an all powerful CHAOS type organization goes through the bother of building a runway in a forest (2 days random travel from where their target is) so that they can land a small plane there piloted by three aging and minimally armed villains without body guards. These villains actually arrive just as the book's heroine happens to step into said clearing, but they are disarmed and beaten up by a man using a french horn case.
This kind of bunk might go over in something faced-paced and fun (The Da Vinci Code?) but here it is interspersed with flowery philosphical musings about metaphysics.... egads, what a horror !
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There aren't any spoilers in this review. If something seems like a spoiler, it's nothing that's not mentioned on the dust jacket. If you've not read the dust jacket, and don't want any spoilers, then you should probably skip this.

I really liked this book. I found it original, fast-paced, fun and filled with wonderful characters. It's a very different kind of book, and I would encourage readers to keep an open mind. This isn't an Ahab's Wife-like retelling of Adam and Eve. It's kind of a thriller, with a codex and all that implies (i.e. religious uproar). It's also a little bit fantasy, a little bit love story, a little bit science fiction even.

It could have been a 5-star read for me, but there was some ridiculousness that I just could not get past. Conveniences that hampered the story rather than helped it. At one point, I just wanted to scream at the editors and demand they explain why they hadn't insisted on fixing it.

At times I found the writing and story flow choppy, which was so unexpected for Naslund because she usually writes beautifully. However, lodged between the bumpy and convenient beginning and end there is the oasis of Eden. The fictional Eden of the book, and the oasis of gorgeous writing and story telling. (Adam eating a tangerine ... Sublime! so simple, yet so beautiful) I loved that part of the story!

I feel like this book had an agenda (a couple actually), and the agenda got in the way of it being brilliant. The potential was there.

I've read (and loved) two other books by Naslund and I thought she was sort of a prissy writer. But this book showed me she's willing to get her hands dirty, and that makes me want to read more of her work. So while this book is not perfect, it's still a really engaging, fun read.
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Format: Hardcover
I think perhaps Adam and Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund could have benefited from a firmer editing hand. The basis for a promising, provocative story is there. I was expecting, as this book touted, a "searing debate between evolutionists and creationists." Proof of life in another planet, the foundations of three religions shaken by a shocking new codex- exciting what ifs that I thought would be explored within the context of two people thrust into a semi-Biblical setting - innocence before the fall. Naslund took on too much and Adam and Eve did not deliver on its promise.

The book seemed a little schizophrenic. Not only do you have the scientific discovery, but then Lucy also somehow ends up with an unrelated, previously undiscovered ancient manuscript. Assassins hired by Christian, Muslim, and Jewish fundamentalists try to kill her. She falls from the sky into the one area in the Middle East that is unpopulated but for one gorgeous naked young man, who's also American, and luckily, it used to be a farm so there's plenty of food for both of them to survive. As if that isn't enough, secret prehistoric cave paintings are thrown into the mix.

Wild plot aside (I burst out laughing in some scenes, especially the one where there's this "wild" monkey boy that jumps from trees---never mind too long of a story), Adam and Eve's true downfall is the writing. Naslund is a gifted writer, no doubt. However, from the first chapter on, the narrative falters under the weight of its mysticism and esoteric tangents. The dialogue often veers into the ridiculous. I find that the more unbelievable and improbable the plot, then the more grounded the characters need to be to anchor the reader to the story, which didn't happen for me here.

"Everything's here," he answered.
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