Waiting for Eden

digital download. Books on Tape. Sept. 2018. 3:27 hrs. ISBN 9780525642930. $38. F
OrangeReviewStarAckerman's (2017 National Book Award finalist for Dark at the Crossing) latest might be just three and a half hours long, but the dramatic effects will surely last longer. MacLeod Andrews—his voice slightly growly, controlled enough as if control is necessary—narrates from the omniscient viewpoint of a dead man, waiting for his best friend to die. Eden Malcolm has been reduced to basically a 70-pound torso, trapped in a San Antonio burn center, sent home from Iraq after surviving an IED blast that killed his best friend—who now tells both their stories, along with that of Eden's wife, Mary, who's spent most of the past three years by his hospital bed. Before the latest deployment, before the explosion, Eden and Mary had been desperate to conceive, Mary more so because a baby was supposed to keep Eden home. Over the "days, weeks, months, years, lying there, not being allowed to just die," the three-part past, the two-part present, the solo future to come (albeit with child) get chillingly revealed—of love, hope, betrayal, desperation, dedication, and suffocation.
VERDICT A superb novel further enhanced by an exemplary reader; a timely acquisition for all libraries. ["With sparse prose and a deft pen, Ackerman writes a profound meditation on the liminal space between our past, present, and future": LJ 9/1/18 starred review of the Knopf hc; 2018 LJ Best Literary Fiction.]

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