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Adam & Eve: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 20 2010

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (Sept. 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061579271
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #262,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Exceptional...A richly detailed portrait of an opulent, turbulent time, revealing the Queen’s journey from frivolity to responsibility, and from palace to prison cell to be one of striking beauty and terrible loss. 4 stars.” (People)

“This is a wonderful, wonderful novel ...[Naslund] has blown a deep breath of life into Four Spirits.” (Detroit Free Press)

“Filled with the fear Naslund witnessed, the characters ...come to life ....Naslund succeeds splendidly in making history a page-turner.” (USA Weekend)

“This is a brave and multifaceted book, propelled by a mission, and is a page-turner.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“Scrupulously researched and vividly presented…it’s an irresistible story, and Naslund handles its big moments…with impressive assurance. Naslund has done her homework, and imagined her complex, bewitching protagonist in persuasive depth and detail. The result is an exemplary historical novel. ” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“A wealth of period details...the queen faces imprisonment and beheading with both charm and a new dignity, even the most cynical reader will wish for a last-minute pardon.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Naslund’s insight and craftsmanship ...capture the complexities and cultural nuances of the times.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)

“An intense treat, powerfully written, Ahab’s Wife is one of the best contemporary novels I have read in years. (Louise Erdrich on Ahab's Wife)

“Surprisingly affecting. ” (New York Times Book Review)

“[Naslund] shed[s] light on what the creation myth (and religious fanaticism) reveals about the human condition: that however formative our beginnings may be, they can always give way to the drama of rebirth. In Adam & Eve, Naslund asks, Which is really more important to us?” (Elle)

“[A] charming parable...but along the way, Naslund weaves into the story an effective condemnation of dogma and religious zealotry as well as an understated plea for open-mindedness and tolerance.” (Boston Globe)

Adam & Eve has the potential of making not simply a splash, but a small tsunami. The novel is nothing less than a futuristic gloss on all creation, pitting religious fundamentalism against the discovery of extraterrestrial life” (Louisville Courier Journal)

“To describe the elements of this ambitious novel is to sound unhinged, but Naslund pulls it off. This thriller is rich in brilliant discourses on religion, fanaticism, the meaning of ancient cave art, the speculative future, and love.” (Library Journal on ADAM & EVE)

“[Adam & Eve] transcends the boundaries of the genres it flirts with. In the hands of a lesser storyteller, it might degrade into a flimsy pastiche, but Sena Jeter Naslund’s lyrical, exact prose kept me engaged.” (

“A really satisfying surprise ending.” (Alabama Writers' Forum on ADAM & EVE)

Adam & Eve is a book about passions—a carefully crafted mosaic of devoted love, gut-wrenching betrayal, religious extremism, scientific inquiry, artistic expression…a wonderfully imaginative romp.” (Huntsville Times on ADAM & EVE)

“Provocative” (New York Times on ADAM & EVE)

From the Back Cover

By decoding light from space, Lucy Bergmann’s astrophysicist husband discovers the existence of extraterrestrial life; their friend, anthropologist Pierre Saad, unearths from the sands of Egypt an ancient alternative version of the Book of Genesis. To religious fanatics, these discoveries have the power to rock the foundations of their faith. Entrusted to deliver this revolutionary news to both the scientific and religious communities, Lucy becomes the target of Perpetuity, a secret society. When her small plane crashes, Lucy finds herself in a place called Eden with an American soldier named Adam, whose quest for both spiritual and carnal knowledge has driven him to madness.

Set against the searing debate between evolutionists and creationists, Adam & Eve is a thriller, a romance, an adventure, an idyll—a tour de force from Sena Jeter Naslund, one of the most imaginative and inspired writers of our time.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 51 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing Aug. 25 2010
By Kiki - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
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.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The Horror. The Horror. Nov. 26 2010
By Hal Brodsky - Published on
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 !
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
From the sublime to the ridiculous - or vice versa Aug. 5 2010
By Nicole Del Sesto - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Out there Sept. 28 2010
By joyful - Published on
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. "that ever was or ever is to be. 'God in three persons,'" he suddenly sang the dying-fall chant of the doxology in a deep and resonant voice as though he could fill a cathedral, "god in three persons, Blessed Trinity...Everything's here and more," he went on in a quiet voice, matter-of-fact, explanatory.

"But Adam," I said, "how can you say 'everything and more' Everything is everything. You can't have more than everything. You don't use language right."

"Words disappear in the air," he explained. "Words are volatile. That's their essence. Who can say how they bubble up, how they break free, and disappear?"

I started to counter, Not if you write them down. Not if you put them on a disk and project them on the ceiling. Not if they're full of love. And meaning. But my words seemed less true than his.

"Scientists say," I said carefully, "that nothing escapes from a black hole. Not even information. Not light. But I never understood how could they speak of information in that context."

Naslund was trying to get a message across, but I wasn't exactly sure what it was. That no matter how painful the cost, humans crave knowledge and will forsake a paradise of ignorance to obtain it? That religion is bad? That humans are responsible for their own downfall and salvation? I could not tell you.

I didn't dislike everything about the book. Lucy, as a modern Eve, is a strong, capable, and independent woman who can fly planes. She is hardly portrayed as the temptress to innocent Adam, but is the literal bearer of knowledge with shattering ramifications. The setup for what happens to her because she is the protector of that knowledge is fantastic one; unfortunately, the rest of the book didn't follow through.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Eden re-told- Adam & Eve April 29 2011
By Mary Popham, author, Back Home in Landing Run - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund

"Voices braid together to tell a story. Sometimes one section disappears behind another. How many strands are there, and where do they come from and how does one story disappear or emerge unexpectedly?" Sena Jeter Naslund's extraordinary new novel, Adam & Eve, is a tale that weaves the past (Before the Common Era) with the future (the setting is 2017 to 2021.) With masterful prose, Naslund presents a hypothesis of how a new Eden could come about in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Middle East. She examines aspects of the Genesis story, its authors, the language in which it was written, the perception of its literal meaning, and most of all, how it has affected all generations hence.
In a brilliant passage, Naslund creates her Eden with a young Adam left to die in a garden in the middle of the desert. We delight at his awakening with discovery of self and the beauty of the world around him--the wide sky, the trees near the water, the oaks, palms, redwoods, fruit trees and vines harmoniously living and growing together. Adam's new awareness moves from plants to wild herds of grazing animals to birds. He finds great joy in watching them fly. Recovering from injuries at the hands of destructive Middle Eastern soldiers, he crawls, he stands.
As Adam is reborn in Eden, Naslund presents him with an Eve, whose name is Lucy--the name given to the recently discovered bones of "our first mother," our evolutionists' Eve. This Eve is Lucy Bergmann, widow of an internationally famous astrophysicist. She becomes involved in a dangerous plan to smuggle priceless information, just discovered, that will bring startling change to the thought of believers and non-believers.
Adam & Eve is a beautifully detailed book, with just the right references to music, songs, masterpieces of art and fiction, prayers, childhood stories and biblical texts. As with Naslund's other critically acclaimed novels, Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits and Abundance, she carefully considers many characters, good and evil, giving an honest look at the beliefs of all. She skillfully weaves her suspenseful story by threading different areas of thought that range from the highly educated physicists, doctors of theology, and students of antiquity to Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths, as well as to the fundamentalists' literal interpretations of doctrine. She illuminates the fear of these latter groups, that any new discoveries will rewrite Genesis. Using repressed books of the Bible as well as knowledge of physics, mathematics and other studies, including inter-terrestrial life, the author also tells the stories of cave art and stone carvings. The reader will find a wealth of information for critical thought, will be edified, entertained and uplifted. This is another glorious book from a world-class writer.
Note: An excerpt of this review appeared in BookClub KET, Kentucky

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