cover image The Eden Revelation

The Eden Revelation

David Rosenberg and Rhonda Rosenberg. Spuyten Duyvil, $25 trade paper (574p) ISBN 978-1-959556-05-3

Novelist David Rosenberg (The Book of J) collaborates with his wife, a public health researcher, for a stimulating narrative inspired by the biblical Garden of Eden. At the center is an ancient text called “The Scroll of the History of Adam” that was discovered and translated in the 1980s and takes a comparatively less damning view on the tree of knowledge and on sexual desire than the book of Genesis. Its surfacing triggers an extended discussion between scholars (and lovers) Archie Shechner and Julie Peleg, and after Archie disappears, his psychotherapist, Betti Peleg, Julie’s mother, proceeds to write down their story based on transcriptions of her sessions with him. Betti weaves a provocative tapestry, with additional threads provided by Professor Svitz, an editor with whom Julie has begun an affair. In Betti’s account, as Julie and Archie spend time with the scrolls, they gain access to an entity they call “the voice of Wisdom,” which enriches their philosophical inquiries, but also triggers Archie’s mental breakdown. After Archie’s disappearance, Julie carries on dialogues with Svitz, worrying she and her lover might be “duller than we think.” In the absence of a conventional narrative, the Rosenbergs make hay of the characters’ ricocheting analyses and revelations. This experiment pays off with dividends. Agent: Madison Smartt Bell, Panda Lit. (Mar.)