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Fallen Hardcover – August 25, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maine tackles biblical narrative once again in his inventive second novel (after 2004's The Preservationist, which starred Noah and his large brood), a spirited retelling of the creation yarn and the conflict between Cain and Abel. The novel opens with Cain as a "jumpy, scared old man," marked for life and wandering the desert in exile for killing Abel. Flashing back years, Maine fills in the story: Cain's "smoldering challenge[s]" to Adam's authority; his scorn for Abel's innocence; his lust and greed and anger. (Eve was convinced that Cain, in utero, killed a twin brother.) Maine's equally compelling retelling of the creation myth explores, among other things, the dynamic between the world's first husband and wife as it evolved, bumpily and confusingly, after they were banished from the Garden of Eden. What makes this intelligent, funny, meaty and moving novel so fascinating is the ease with which Maine inserts a modern sensibility and keen psychological analysis even as he jumps back and forth between the timelines of the two narratives and remains faithful to their biblical roots.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Maine uses the story of Adam and Eve and the subsequent fatal conflict between their two sons as the basis for this meaty, lusty tale. Fallen opens with an introspective Cain in his later years and works backward from there to Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden. The novel is divided into four sections. The first centers on the Cain of the present: shunned by society after murdering his brother, he is a surly, reclusive man whose one joy in life is his son Enoch (or Henoch in the story). The second series of chapters relates Cain's and Abel's growing up years and the events that lead to Cain's decision. The focus then shifts to Adam and Eve and the years they spend raising their family. Finally, readers are taken back to the events leading up to the Fall and the period that immediately follows their expulsion. The portrayals are vibrant and three-dimensional; there is a raw energy to Adam and Eve, especially, that makes them almost leap off the page. Cain's simmering resentment is disturbingly appealing, and the reverse chronology is a masterful stroke that emphasizes the stark power of regret. The language throughout the book is spare and beautiful, and the author weaves his story with such finesse that readers are left thinking, Well, of course it happened that way! Fallen breathes new life into one of humanity's oldest stories.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312328494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312328498
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,728,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Even the world's very first family was seriously dysfunctional, or so argues David Maine in his imaginative, insightful second novel, FALLEN. In Maine's debut novel, 2004's THE PRESERVATIONIST, he focused on the Old Testament story of Noah's flood. Now, with FALLEN, Maine returns to the Book of Genesis from the very beginning, exploring the story of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, as well as the story of the world's first murder, when Adam and Eve's oldest son Cain killed his brother Abel.

In Maine's novel, Cain is bitter, angry and resentful, yet oddly sympathetic. Cursed to wander about until the end of his days, marked by God with a mark that ostensibly keeps him from harm but actually reveals his true identity (and its accompanying dread) to all he meets, Cain lacks any support beyond his small family.

As Cain's history is revealed, Maine grounds the young man's hatred of his father in larger family dynamics. Abel is the family golden boy, beloved by both God and by his parents. Cain, on the other hand, is despised for his skepticism and for his murder (according to Eve) of his stillborn twin brother in utero. Cain's crime can't be forgiven, perhaps, but Maine makes it possible to understand the circumstances that lead to such a shocking event in human history.

Although FALLEN lacks the multiple voices that enriched THE PRESERVATIONIST, it is no less compelling. What is most impressive is how Maine weaves, from a few short verses in Genesis, a fully fleshed novel that expands on the Biblical narrative while still remaining true to its source. Chances are that many readers will return to the original text after reading Maine's retelling.
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Format: Hardcover
While it remains a mystery who arranged the dust into the shape of that first man, after reading Fallen, I am convinced that it is David Maine who has breathed life into him, and all the flesh of his flesh. Weaving backwards, Maine begins with Cain as an aged, dying man and ends with the expulsion from Eden. He does not so much rewrite the stingy narrative but adds to it, writes in between it, swells it, and truly makes the word flesh. With an unparalleled elegance, Maine explores everything that the original author refused to reveal and the mythical characters upon whom Western civilization is based become painfully and wonderfully human. Adam is sincere, inadequate and afraid of rabbits; Abel is exasperating, innocent and bad with numbers; Cain is brooding, clever and tragically sensitive; Eve, with her "red hair spilling crazily across the green moss," Eve is like fire... passionate, exquisite and breathtakingly brave. Traveling backwards, working towards that fateful night, when under the thunder struck sky, Adam knew Eve and Eve knew hunger, Maine tells an incredible story of love, family, and learning to walk after the fall. Much like the mark on Cain's forehead that it opens with, Fallen will brand you forever, burn inside of you, heartbreakingly beautiful and unforgettable.
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Format: Hardcover
For a book with its fair share of murderers, rapists, and thieves, there are few characters in the Bible more hated than Cain. Even Eve, providing stiff competition by bearing the brunt of the blame for the expulsion from Eden, at the very least, will always be responsible for introducing mankind to sex. While religious theologians can wax poetic about the evils of notorious characters like Eve, Pontius Pilate and Judas, they have always been silent on the subject of Cain. On that, everyone is in agreement - Cain is the embodiment of evil. It is therefore an enormous feat of any writer to attempt to redraw this much-maligned biblical character as three-dimensional and complex. It is one that David Maine courageously takes on and accomplishes, breathing life into the characters of not only Cain, but also Abel, Adam and Eve. The novel, Fallen, takes us on a heartbreaking journey through the eyes of Cain, Abel, Adam and Eve meandering backwards from the eve of Cain's death to end with their eviction from Eden.

Every character is given the chance to tell their story through each of the four books: Cain is a tortured, lonely man being punished for an act he isn't sure was entirely of his own volition; Abel is a slightly self-righteous, innocent baffled by his death yet ready to forgive; Adam is bewildered and unprepared for his exile out of Eden but is fervently loyal to the God that banished him; and Eve endures the pain of her punishment with grace and provides her husband with the strength to survive through her passion and love.

Fallen is a beautifully written novel that challenges without offending even the most conservative of readers simply by revealing the humanity of these characters.
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Format: Hardcover
David Maine is a master of prose, lending archaic stories a stark relevance and realism. In "The Preservationist," he took us into Noah's life and family. In "Fallen," he gives us a peek into the minds and motivations of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and perhaps even God himself.

With deft skill, Maine starts his story from Cain's perspective. As the narrative winds backwards through time to the Fall in the Garden--possibly losing some of its tension, since we know the outcome--we do find deeper insight into the lives of the first family. What modern family doesn't struggle with these same issues: conflict between teens and parents, sibling rivalry, and sins of the fathers (and mothers)? Maine makes these very issues seem pertinent to our own culture; his true magic is his ability to show that the biblical stories still have lessons to teach about our future.

There is one caveat I must mention. Maine chooses an uncertain approach to the root of man's disobedience (one mirrored by prudish leaders in church history), showing that Adam and Eve only experienced physical union after the Fall, as though their awareness of their nakedness is a sexual awareness alone. In fact, the biblical account mentions the "cleaving to one another" and "becoming one flesh" before the Fall, implying that its beauty and transcendence was a divine gift.

That aside, this is a wonderfully told story, full of beauty and rage and humanity. Maine's research and insights are woven throughout the narrative, and I can't wait to see which biblical account he dives into next.
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