When the book opens Eve, who is the narrator ,is just coming into consciousness. She has been given by God to the Serpent to raise. Her sense of wonder as the Serpent introduces her to life in Paradise is a strength of the book; she learns about nature, love and the way that the new and fascinating world works. When she comes into contact with God - who rears Adam - she is wary of his dominance and egotism.One day, becoming impatient to discover whether or not he`s designed the male and female to procreate properly, God rushes Adam and Eve into intercourse.The Serpent alone regcognizes the consequences of God`s act. `Until today Eve has felt...that the world was good...' but ' Adam as good as raped her.' Eve is devastated by the experience. Eve leaves the Garden to gain some distance from God and to discover what exists in the outside world; the Serpent accompanies her. They make several journeys - one to a volcano, one to a desert, one to a mountain range and one to the sea (where Eve swims out to sea against the instructions of the Serpent and nearly drowns.) On their return to the Garden, the roots of the apple tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil begin to grow; the Serpent sensing that time is running out to teach Eve that love making is good, changes into a man and makes love to her with great sensitivity. After this she is prepared to accept her role as the mother of humankind. God is outraged by Eve's - and also Adams's - interest in the tree of knowledge. He is at his capricious worst: everything must bow to his wishes. They realise that if they are to have any freedom of will they must leave God and the garden . The Serpent warns them that this will involve future suffering but Eve feels she must develop and be her own person.They go forth...
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An intriguing interpretation of the Creation story . . . Certainly unusual, this is a fascinating novel and sure to attract attention - The Bookseller
While The Garden is undeniably intense at times, Aidinoff has successfully leavened her tale with refreshing doses of humour and the sensual quality of the prose - Guardian
This is a remarkable, morally complicated provocative novel. I don't think teenagers should be allowed to keep it to themselves - Observer
A lyrically scripted, refreshing, reflective, mischievous exploration of Genesis and its ambiguous symbolism - TES
One of the world's oldest stories becomes new again. . . . The story is at its best during the dialogues between Eve and the Serpent when age-old questions are asked and real answers are given - although not necessarily the answers that have been accepted for ages - Booklist USA
Elsie Aidinoff has lived in Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, London and New York where she has worked since 1980 in a Children's Storefront School in Harlem. She is married to a lawyer and has four grown-up children.