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Eveless Eden by Marianne Wiggins
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Eveless Eden

by Marianne Wiggins

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663180,945 (3.73)1 / 15

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This novel is both a thriller and a love story inextricably linked to the major events that took place between 1986 and 1991: the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the downfall of the Ceausescu and the subsequent ending of the Communist regime in Romania. In the novel’s foreground are Noah John and Lilith da Vinci, a journalist and photographer respectively, who embark on a torrid affect that will inevitably, like the times they live in, change their lives forever.
I believe that any novel’s protagonists should have at least one good virtuous characteristic, one redeemable trait that a reader can use to justify following the character’s story through the novel. But in Noah John there is nothing to hang that particular hat on. He is a weak, charmless character who commits an abominable act halfway through the book that is never fully addressed. Though this act is an allusion to what is happening and will happen in Germany it still cannot be forgiven and for me was a emotional distraction as I read the rest of the book.
Lilith da Vinci is a more redeemable character but still not that likeable. She is a strong, brave character, sexual permissive and has a belief in highlighting, through her photographs, the horrors of war and the world we live in.
The backdrop that the novel is set against and the protagonist’s part in these events is what makes the novel interesting and worthwhile reading. The novel’s allegorical structure, set as it is within the historically tumultuous five years that shook the world to its political and social foundations, allows the lover’s affair and characterization to reflect and imbue the time they are living through.
Many of the novel’s minor characters are poorly and lazily drawn. For instance Noah’s Scottish friend is called Mac and is a heavy drinker. The author writes some of Mac’s dialogue in the vernacular but spells the words phonetically.
The novel’s backdrop and how these world events and the reader’s knowledge of how these will affect the 1990s and the 21st century is what makes this book readable, not the main characters Noah and Lilith who at times appear nothing more than ciphers to decode a world in upheaval. Then again maybe this was the author’s intention. ( )
  Kitscot | Aug 28, 2013 |
Confession: I read the first 150 pages of this book in earnest. I skimmed the rest of the book. If I missed something in the last two-thirds of this novel, I apologize in advance.

Noah John is a reporter who travels to all ends of the earth to get the story. On location in Cameroon, he meets the love of his life, a fiesty photographer named Lilith. Once united, they become a powerful journalistic duo, covering some of the biggest stories in the late 1980's. However, Lilith starts to fall for someone else - a Romanian dignitary with a troublesome past. Noah is broken hearted and flees to New York, where he later learns that the Romanian man was killed - but there's no word on Lilith's whereabouts. Noah begins another adventure - looking for Lilith and hoping she didn't meet the same fate as her Romanian lover.

Doesn't it sound like an action-adventure flick starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt?

I really don't have anything against globe-trotting journalists who are always near the action - and I certainly don't have anything against Eveless Eden. Despite being shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 1996, it just wasn't the book for me. ( )
  mrstreme | Feb 25, 2012 |
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I received it as a gift, and it's not something I normally would have purchased. However, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It had its own distinct writing style, and though the book ends very abruptly, it fits. ( )
  miyurose | Dec 13, 2008 |
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Epigraph
I am these two, twofold. I ate from the Tree
Of Knowledge. I was expelled by the archangel's sword.
At night I sensed her pulse. Her mortality.
And we have searched for the real place ever since.
-Czeslaw Milosz
from the poem "Paradise"
Dedication
for Joseph Brodsky; and for Deborah Amos and Karen De Young.
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It started--for the sake of starting somewhere--with the butterfly on Fifth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Eveless Eden tells the story of a passionate love affair between a foreign correspondent for an American newspaper and the tough, sexy, talented photographer he meets at the site of an ecological disaster in Africa. Noah swings between disillusion and romanticism, cynicism and faith, despair and hope, as he and Lilith pursue their adventure in Paris, London, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and through the scandal of AIDS tainted blood in the orphanages of Nicolai Ceausescu's Romania. Lilith's fateful attraction to danger makes her vulnerable to the seductive appeal of a mysterious Romanian, Adam Pentru, a man of evil genius, Minister of Trade in the Ceausescu government and a spy for the British. When Adam enters the picture, the story darkens and narrative suspense mounts, as Noah struggles to piece together a story more horrifying than any he has ever covered. Eveless Eden offers a sweeping vision of individual, political, and global evil in the modern world.… (more)

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