Friday, July 15, 2011

Adam & Eve by guest blogger Steven Head's 90 degrees outside...and gooey. Who drinks coffee on a day like today? That's what I said to myself when I walked in this morning, and so I didn't brew any java. Three guesses what my first five customers wanted. Right! Oh well, lesson learned. Sometimes it doesn't pay to think...doing is better.

I know I haven't been too regular of late...concerning the blog that is. No excuse other than I have a huge case of the lazies. It happens. It will end someday. But, believe me, this is the life. Every so often I reflect back on my teaching days, and jump for joy (you ought to see that!) when the alarm doesn't ring at 5:40, and when I am not staring at 60+ essays to grade, or pithy little poems to critique. Teaching was a great gig, but moving on was wise for me. And now, making life even better than ever....I have a personal reader. Yup. Good ole Steve has read a book that has been on my to-be-read pile for almost a year...and he went ahead and read it for me. Gotta luv that guy for being so thoughtful. I read Abundance by Sena Naslund years ago - the fictionalized account of Marie Antoinette. The title refers to her indulgent life, but also to the abundance of ambition, turmoil, and general unrealistic expectations placed on a couple far too young to run a county.'s Steve's expert commentary.

(Hey Steve, it's a Twilight Zone moment that you lead with a reference to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I watched that movie for the first time last weekend.)

A few weekends ago I caught a mid-1990's interview with James Berendt on Book TV, talking about his Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Berendt talked about the Clint Eastwood movie based on the book, but a good deal of the writing had been dropped given time constraints. The library had an audio version and it was only a few days before I checked it out. So when a book entitled Adam & Eve came along it seemed appropriate to read it while listening to Good & Evil.

Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Adam & Eve, has a number of books out including Ahab's Wife, Sherlock in Love, and Ice Skating at the North Pole. But I had never read any of her work so all was a surprise to me. A&E starts with the our central character, Lucy, in Amsterdam on her way to meet Thom Bergmann, her husband. As she approaches the meeting place she watches as a grand piano, being hoisted up the outside of building, breaks loose and crashes onto her mate. That is what I call a dramatic opening.

Through a series of coincidences Lucy finds herself transporting a religious artifact in an aging private airplane she pilots from Cairo to Paris. The plane develops mechanical problems and she crashes on a beach, although on the way down she notices a solitary human figure. This is where the Adam & Eve part comes together. We learn the man is named Liam with a history of mental issues. Believing he has been transformed to Adam, living in the Garden of Eden, he longs for an Eve. Cue the entrance of Lucy to assume this role.

All goes well in Eden until it does not. I will not share the details since that would be giving away too much. Let's just say Lucy gets the artifact to Paris, which leads to another mini-adventure, and all ends happily ever after, more or less.

Since the book is set in future, 2017 to 2020, it might be considered science fiction. Parts of it suggest mystery. There is a good deal of discussion of religious topics. And in some ways it is a love story. So categorizing this book is a problem.

Adam & Eve is entertaining and thought provoking, although for me the ending is not completely satisfying. If you are a fan of Ms. Naslund, this book may be for you. Even if you are not, you still might want to give it a try.