Waiting for Eden
Knopf. Sept. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9781101947395. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947401. F
OrangeReviewStarIn his previous novels (Green on Blue, In the Dark at the Crossing), Ackerman, a National Book Award finalist and decorated veteran, attempted to view contemporary war through empathy and conflicting perspectives, with his characters ranging from an orphan forced to fight in the middle of Afghanistan's civil war to an Arab American crossing into Syria to battle Assad. Here, his outlook expands beyond the confines of national borders to the afterlife. Badly burned and paralyzed from an IED on the battlefield, Eden silently and anxiously awaits his own death as his pregnant wife, Mary, sits dutifully by his side and prepares for the birth of their child. Struggling between the decision to release her husband from this life or cling to every last day, Mary's world begins to unravel into a tempest of despair and hope. Spanning the next three years, the alternating narrative jumps between present and past through the memories and stories of a posthumous and omniscient narrator, Eden's friend, who died in the same explosion.
VERDICT With sparse prose and a deft pen, Ackerman writes a profound meditation on the liminal space between our past, present, and future. [See Prepub Alert, 4/9/18; "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 8/18.]

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