I was eager to read Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund, since I had thoroughly enjoyed her earlier novel, Ahab’s Wife. As I read this book, I was surprised by the different direction this story seemed to take. I was expecting a lovely, embellished-but-faithful take on the original Adam and Eve tale, but the author has spun that concept into a rather strange work of fiction that leaps from place to place, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was disappointed in this book, I will say that I wasn’t always thrilled with the turns that this novel took.
First of all, this isn’t the Adam and Eve story. I don’t really know why I was so convinced that this would be the story from the Book of Genesis and nothing else, but I was incredibly surprised to find myself reading about completely different people in a completely different time. I don’t think that this is a mark against the book, since it was my own assumption that lead me to be disappointed. However, I doubt that I’ll be the only one to make that mistake since the author’s previous novel, Ahab’s Wife is about exactly that, the wife of the famous character from Herman Melville’s novel.
Second of all, this is a strange story. I can’t go into too much detail, since it seems like almost every part of the book could be considered a spoiler since it seemed to continually be taking a new turn. The book covers the rather exciting travels of a woman named Lucy who is involved in a series of secret adventures that deal both with things from the future and basic Biblical stories. It’s interesting, but it’s still very strange and at times I found that I was distracted by the strong political and religious themes that weren’t necessarily offensive, but rather seemed a little forced or hastily thrown in.
There are parts of this book that are glorious…the kind of passages that make you turn to whoever is sitting nearby so that you can read them aloud. In that sense, Sena Jeter Naslund definitely hasn’t lost her touch. So, it’s possible that my problem with this book really lay in the fact that it just wasn’t the kind of book I usually pick up and I couldn’t quite get myself immersed enough to stop thinking, “wow, this book is really weird.” So, if you’re more of an adventurous reader who enjoys a piece of pretty fiction, pick it up. If you’re someone who likes a story to stay in something of a straight line as you read it, you might want to give this one a miss and wait for her next novel.
Carly lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their two cats. Her favorite thing to do is to curl up by a window with a library book. When she isn’t reading, she’s usually writing on her blog at www.beingcarly.com.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.