Adam and Eve
Sena Jeter Naslund
$26.99, 352 pages
Synopsis from Harper Collins:Hours before his untimely—and highly suspicious—death, world-renowned astrophysicist Thom Bergmann shares his discovery of extraterrestrial life with his wife, Lucy. Feeling that the warring world is not ready to learn of—or accept—proof of life elsewhere in the universe, Thom entrusts Lucy with his computer flash drive, which holds the keys to his secret work. Devastated by Thom's death, Lucy keeps the secret, but Thom's friend, anthropologist Pierre Saad, contacts Lucy with an unusual and dangerous request about another sensitive matter. Pierre needs Lucy to help him smuggle a newly discovered artifact out of Egypt: an ancient codex concerning the human authorship of the Book of Genesis. Offering a reinterpretation of the creation story, the document is sure to threaten the foundation of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions . . . and there are those who will stop at nothing to suppress it. Midway through the daring journey, Lucy's small plane goes down on a slip of verdant land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East. Burned in the crash landing, she is rescued by Adam, a delusional American soldier whose search for both spiritual and carnal knowledge has led to madness. Blessed with youth, beauty, and an unsettling innocence, Adam gently tends to Lucy's wounds, and in this quiet, solitary paradise, a bond between the unlikely pair grows. Ultimately, Lucy and Adam forsake their half-mythical Eden and make their way back toward civilization, where members of an ultraconservative religious cult are determined to deprive the world of the knowledge Lucy carries. Set against the searing debate between evolutionists and creationists, Adam & Eve expands the definition of a "sacred book," and suggests that true madness lies in wars and violence fueled by all religious literalism and intolerance. A thriller, a romance, an adventure, and an idyll, Adam & Eve is a tour de force by a master contemporary storyteller. - Harper Collins Website
Sena Jeter Naslund swept me away in her book Ahab's Wife. I am still recommending this book to readers all the time. I was glued to Four Spirits and Abundance was excellent. When I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Adam & Eve, I couldn't wait to begin it. Unfortunately, my anxiety from curiosity quickly faded. Reading became a challenge and continuous agitation persisted as I kept waiting for more. The story was confusing and very random, the characters were flat and colorless. I couldn't wait for the story to end, yet as an avid fan, continued to hope it would turn around. I wouldn't give up quite sure the voice of Naslund the phenomenal storyteller would emerge. It didn't.
The synopsis above is published on the publishers website, but it doesn't begin to describe the actual story and randomness of the plot.Here's what just doesn't work. Lucy's husband is killed by a falling grand piano. How bizarre right? Left holding his flash drive, she carries it and his memory with her everywhere. She takes off in a plane, yes she conveniently is a pilot. She agrees to deliver a sealed French Horn case containing an ancient codex, an alternative story of creation. Her plane crashes, and she meets Adam, a nude and attractive man who lives in an Eden like habitat. He believes he is the Adam from the Bible. Who is this Adam? He believes Lucy to be Eve. They are both nude and when a pilot named Riley also crashes, Lucy makes orange clothes out of his parachute. I won't even continue this litany of weird and unusual that approximates more of Ripley's Believe It or Not than a Naslund novel. So disappointing to me after reading three fabulous novels of hers. My recommendation is to read The Book of Genesis again. This one was just a waste of time.
Disclosure: I received this book from William Morrow for review.
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