Adam & Eve. Naslund is one of those writers who seems to stretch herself with each new book. She's written about Captain Ahab's wife, the civil rights movement, and Marie Antoinette, each time taking a fresh spin on familiar landmarks of our cultural history. This time around, she tackles evolution, extraterrestrials and "an ancient codex concerning the human authorship of the Book of Genesis." I put the novel to the opening-paragraph test:
A nude couple is standing in the shade of a small, leafy tree. The quality of the filtered light on their bare skin attracts me, and I stand with them to enjoy the dappled shade. Through pinholes formed where leaves cross, the sunlight creates globules of brightness on the grass. My bare toes nudge inside one of those softly defined orbs, but then I remember to look up.That's a literal falling piano and it's not spoiling anything to say that it will leave the novel's protagonist, Lucy, a widow. It sets in motion a chain of events which eventually lands Lucy on "a slip of verdant land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers" where she meets a shell-shocked soldier named Adam and they establish their own Garden of Eden. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing snakes are involved.
From the sky, at the rate of 32.2 feet per second, a grand piano is hurtling down like a huge black bird of prey over our upturned faces. In that moment is a beginning and an end, alpha and omega, Genesis and Revelation.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Adam & Eve, all you have to do is answer this question:
What was the profession of Lucy's ill-fated husband Thom? (The answer can be found on this page)
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section. The contest closes at midnight on Oct. 14, at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 15.