The Wreckage of Eden - American Novels (Paperback)
  • The Wreckage of Eden - American Novels (Paperback)

The Wreckage of Eden - American Novels (Paperback)

Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 21/06/2018
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"[Norman Lock's fiction] shimmers with glorious language, fluid rhythms, and complex insights." --NPR

When U.S. Army chaplain Robert Winter first meets Emily Dickinson, he is fascinated by the brilliance of the strange girl immersed in her botany lessons. She will become his confidante, obsession, and muse over the years as he writes to her of his friendship with the aspiring politician Abraham Lincoln, his encounter with the young newspaperman Samuel Clemens, and his crisis of conscience concerning the radical abolitionist John Brown. Bearing the standard of God and country through the Mexican War and the Mormon Rebellion, Robert seeks to lessen his loneliness while his faith is eroded by the violence he observes and ultimately commits. Emily, however, remains as elusive as her verse on his rare visits to Amherst and denies him solace, a rejection that will culminate in a startling epiphany at the very heart of his despair.

Powerfully evocative of Emily Dickinson's life, times, and artistry, this fifth stand-alone book in The American Novels series captures a nation riven by conflicts that continue to this day.

Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage, radio, and screenplays. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series.

Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
ISBN: 9781942658382
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 191 x 127 mm


Select Praise for Norman Lock's The American Novels Series

"Lock writes some of the most deceptively beautiful sentences in contemporary fiction. Beneath their clarity are layers of cultural and literary references, profound questions about loyalty, race, the possibility of social progress, and the nature of truth . . . to create something entirely new--an American fable of ideas." --Shelf Awareness

"The American Novels series, Norman Lock's current multi-year, multi-volume project, is nothing short of his most ambitious endeavor yet . . . a fusion of all his preoccupations: fabulism, storytelling and the story of the telling, and the exploration of history, its discontents and malcontents." --Big Other

"In each [American Novels series] volume the first-person narrator functions as a kind of refractive lens, bending and blending together a generation of texts and ideas within a single mind, and yielding a spectrum of impressions on the development of American culture and identity." --Millions

On The Boy in His Winter

"Brilliant. . . . The Boy in His Winter is a glorious meditation on justice, truth, loyalty, story, and the alchemical effects of love, a reminder of our capacity to be changed by the continuously evolving world 'when it strikes fire against the mind's flint, ' and by profoundly moving novels like this." --NPR

"[Lock] is one of the most interesting writers out there. This time, he re-imagines Huck Finn's journeys, transporting the iconic character deep into America's past--and future." --Reader's Digest

"To call [The Boy in His Winter] a work of fiction is to tell only part of the story. This book is as much a treatise on memory and time and the nature of storytelling and our collective national conscience. . . . Much of it wildly funny and extremely intelligent." --Star Tribune

"Lock plays profound tricks, with language--his is crystalline and underline-worthy--and with time, the perfect metaphor for which is the mighty Mississippi itself." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

On American Meteor

"Sheds brilliant light along the meteoric path of American westward expansion. . . . [A] pithy, compact beautifully conducted version of the American Dream, from its portrait of the young wounded soldier in the beginning to its powerful rendering of Crazy Horse's prophecy for life on earth at the end." --NPR

"[Walt Whitman] hovers over [American Meteor], just as Mark Twain's spirit pervaded The Boy in His Winter. . . . Like all Mr. Lock's books, this is an ambitious work, where ideas crowd together on the page like desperate men on a battlefield." --Wall Street Journal

"[American Meteor] feels like a campfire story, an old-fashioned yarn full of rich historical detail about hard-earned lessons and learning to do right." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"American Meteor is, at its core, a spiritual treatise that forces its readers to examine their own role in history's unceasing march forward [and] casts new and lyrical light on our nation's violent past." --Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

On The Port-Wine Stain

"Lock's novel engages not merely with [Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent M tter] but with decadent fin de si cle art and modernist literature that raised philosophical and moral questions about the metaphysical relations among art, science and human consciousness. The reader is just as spellbound by Lock's story as [his novel's narrator] is by Poe's. . . . Echoes of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Freud's theory of the uncanny abound in this mesmerizingly twisted, richly layered homage to a pioneer of American Gothic fiction." --New York Times Book Review

"As polished as its predecessors, The Boy in His Winter and American Meteor. . . . An enthralling and believable picture of the descent into madness, told in chillingly beautiful prose that Poe might envy." --Library Journal (starred review)

"As lyrical and alluring as Poe's own original work, The Port-Wine Stain captures the magic, mystery, and madness of the great American author while weaving an eerie and original tale in homage to him." --Foreword Reviews

"This chilling and layered story of obsession succeeds both as a moody period piece and as an effective and memorable homage to the works of Edgar Allan Poe." --Kirkus Reviews

On A Fugitive in Walden Woods

"A Fugitive in Walden Woods manages that special magic of making Thoreau's time in Walden Woods seem fresh and surprising and necessary right now. . . . This is a patient and perceptive novel, a pleasure to read even as it grapples with issues that affect the United States to this day." --Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling

"Bold and enlightening. . . . An important novel that creates a vivid social context for the masterpieces of such writers as Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne and also offers valuable insights about our current conscious and unconscious racism." --Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman

"Bursts with intellectual energy, with moral urgency, and with human feeling. . . . Achieves the alchemy of good fiction through which philosophy takes on all the flaws and ennoblements of real, embodied life." --Millions

"Demonstrates Lock's uncanny ability to inhabit historical figures and meticulously capture the vernacular of the time like a transcendentalist ventriloquist. . . . Offer[s] profound insights that sharpen our understanding of American history." --Booklist (starred review)

On The Wreckage of Eden

"Perceptive and contemplative. . . . Bring[s] the 1840-60s to life with shimmering prose." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Lock deftly tells a visceral story of belief and conflict, with abundant moments of tragedy and transcendence along the way." --Kirkus Reviews

"The lively passages of Emily's letters are so evocative of her poetry that it becomes easy to see why Robert finds her so captivating. The book also expands and deepens themes of moral hypocrisy around racism and slavery. . . . Lyrically written but unafraid of the ugliness of the time, Lock's thought-provoking series continues to impress." --Publishers Weekly

"[A] consistently excellent series. . . . Lock has an impressive ear for the musicality of language, and his characteristic lush prose brings vitality and poetic authenticity to the dialogue." --Booklist

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