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Eve: A Novel of the First Woman Hardcover – January 27, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038534144X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341448
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elliott reimagines the story of Adam and Eve in a debut novel that richly evokes earliest biblical times. The story is told from the points of view of Eve and her daughters: Naava, the beautiful weaver; Aya, the quick-witted, club-footed cook; and Dara, the compassionate observant twin. Eve recounts the fall and how she and Adam wander until settling down to grow crops, raise livestock and start a garden of their own. Elliott offers readers vivid details about the first childbirth, the first intercourse, the first recriminations, the first environmental calamity and the first hunt, but the novel really comes alive when it departs from lushly imagined retelling and thrusts the family into unfamiliar territory when the brood encounters a city and city people. Elliott is at her imaginative and linguistic best describing city life, customs and architecture, building tension as Naava falls for a prince, fueling Cain's wrath. Elliott makes biblical fiction her own with a female perspective that emphasizes emotional turmoil, sensual experience and an impressive range of imagery that brings to life daily life in the beginning. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

This ambitious and resonant first novel imagines Eve as she is created from Adam, is expelled from the Garden, and loses one son at the hand of another. With her lyrical writing style, Elliott brings a fully flawed and human Eve to life. Listeners may be surprised to relate to Eve as she struggles with the enduring problems of maintaining a marriage and rearing children. Three talented narrators—Sandra Burr, Tanya Eby Sirois, and Ellen Grafton—give voice to Eve and her daughters. Recommended for public libraries with a Christian fiction readership and/or interest in literary fiction. [The Delacorte hc received a starred review, LJ 1/09.—Ed.]—Carly Wiggins, Allen Cty. P.L., Fort Wayne, IN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I will probably re-read the entire book again.
I would definitely recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction, and to anyone who enjoys an engaging and delightfully well-written story.
Amazon Customer
I found the book never felt authentic, and every plot point felt gimmicky and like a telenovella twist.
Touche LaRue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Russell J. Sanders on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"She sweats, she worries, she prays, she keens, she kneels, she questions, she protects, she argues, she cries, she creates, she talks, she sees, she touches, she listens, she loves, she repents, she remembers.
"After all, she is a mother."

So says Eve, the legendary mother of mankind, the legendary mother of the earth, so eloquently and yet so simply in Elissa Elliott's Eve: A Novel of the First Woman. In Elliott's magnificent achievement, Eve embodies all of motherhood, feeling the feelings, worrying the worries, asking the questions, finding the answers that all mothers must surely have had since that time in the Garden. For most of the novel, Eve is pregnant. This is a powerful image, for we see a woman struggling with how to raise her existing children while we know that another is just over the horizon, waiting to complicate things, yet populate the world.

Eve: A Novel of the First Woman tells a story that most of us probably think we already knew. The Garden of Eden myth is a staple of Judeo/Christian teachings. But this author embellishes, inventing a story lush with character and plot, based on copious research. The bare bones are there: Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit, God casts them out of the Garden, their son Cain slays his brother Abel. But in Elliott's re-imagining of the myth, we meet a family--father, mother, their three sons, their three daughters--and a host of other characters, inhabitants of a nearby city, most likely a Sumerian one, who worship stone gods and cause much conflict in this tale of a mother desperately trying to regain her faith and thus redeem her family.

I suspect that there are few people versed in Western ways who haven't heard the Garden of Eden story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy B on July 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was wonderfully written and the story was compelling. I grew up in a Christian home and still strongly value my faith. However, when I chose to read this novel I did not expect it to be based on hard facts. It was clear to me from the beginning that it was purely a work of fiction and provided the author's conjecture at what life may have been like for Eve, Adam, and their family. Yes, it is based on the Bible, but the account in Genesis is brief. Personally, I loved the way the story was told through the eyes of Eve and her 3 daughters as it gave readers a chance to see things through several perspectives. It was also nice as a woman, to hear an account - albeit fictional - of what life back then may have been like. It was interesting to me how each member of this family - believing they were the first in the world - was given a special talent that they cultivated to provide for themselves and advance their way of living. Is it a bit too much to envision a 10 year who was a master cook and medicine woman? Perhaps. But it was an entirely different culture and time, and children were forced to grow up fast and work to help support their families.
I found the author's afterword, where she explained how she arrived at some of her ideas, to be very interesting. She obviously did her homework, and thought through the best way to tell her version of the story.
Yes, there were contradictions in the story that don't line up with the Bible - such as the existance of an entire society of people - but remembering that this was purely a work of fiction I can forgive the author for this discrepancy. The other discrepancies mentioned by other reviewers are likely to catch some people's eyes as well, but not being a Biblical scholar these things didn't bother me.
Overall - it was a wonderful novel that I would recommend. Just remember it is a fictional novel, not a true story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Eve and Adam love their life in the Garden of Eden. However, paradise is lost when Eve seduced by Lucifer as much as by her curiosity persuades Adam to take an apple bite from the Tree of Knowledge forbidden fruit. Saddened but a believer in the original tough love, Elohim kicks the pair from the Garden and into the harsh cruel world.

Over the next few years, the previously pampered pair struggle, but finally turn it around as their home becomes a safe haven to raise kids and drink beer with figs and grapes. They have several children as Adam believes in barefoot and pregnant. Abel is a sheepherder; Cain becomes a farmer, Seth the favorite provides solace to his mom; Naava is a weaver; Dara is a potter; and Aya the healer remains invisible to her family. Cain turns away from Elohim to the Sumerian fertility goddess Inanna while his sister Naava seduces him into taking her to the nearby city. Naava is jealous that Dara works for the prince, so she marries the prince. Outraged by her betrayal Cain causes a riot that displaces the first family and soon commits fratricide.

This dysfunctional family drama makes for an enjoyable biblical biographical fiction in which they needed a shrink. The story line leaps around as perspective is rotated. Eve grows in her job as the first mom after being kicked to the curb by God due to the original sin. Her daughters even "invisible" Aya come across as fully developed in part because they tell the saga while the males are not fleshed out beyond their roles of supporting the women who dominate their lives. Although except for the setting, the First family feels like an American brood sent back to the first days, fans will enjoy the novelization of Eve and her clan.

Harriet Klausner
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More About the Author

Elissa Elliott is a former high school teacher. She is a contributing writer to Books & Culture and has optioned her first screenplay. She and her husband, Daniel Elliott, live in Minnesota with their daughter. This is her first novel.