Thursday, May 27, 2010

book review: secrets of eden


Secrets of Eden
Chris Bohjalian



From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Bohjalian (Law of Similars) has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects—homeopathy, animal rights activism, midwifery—and his latest surely won't disappoint. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drew's Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novel's first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon, he meets Heather Laurent, the author of a book about angels whose own parents' marriage also ended in tragedy. Stephen's deeply sympathetic narration is challenged by the next two narrators: deputy state attorney Catherine Benincasa, whose suspicions are aroused initially by Stephen's abrupt departure (and then by questions about his relationship with Alice), and Heather, who distances herself from Stephen for similar reasons and risks the trip into her dark past by seeking out Katie, the Haywards' now-orphaned 15-year-old daughter who puts into play the final pieces of the puzzle, setting things up for a touching twist. Fans of Bohjalian's more exotic works will miss learning something new, but this is a masterfully human and compassionate tale. (Feb.)
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my review:
chris bohjalian has written several books that many people love, but this was the first one of his that i have read. the first thing i noticed that i wouldnt have connected with a year ago was that it is set in vermont and new hampshire. after living here, reading things that take place in cities i have visited makes it much more real. the story started a little bit slowly for me. i had a hard time connecting with stephen, but as the story progressed and more details were revealed about this town and the main characters, i became fully engrossed in the story. i really didn't know what to expect from this author, and the ending was not at all what i thought it would be. it was a really book and i can't wait to read more of his work! if you are a fan of chris bohjalian or if you have never read any of his work, i think you would still enjoy this story.

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