After Eden: A Novel (Literature of the American West) by Valerie Miner

By Valerie Miner

Loss and renewal within the lives of a person and a communityAfter Eden is a provocative novel that examines the which means of domestic and homelessness between those that see such matters as greater than abstractions. In a narrative populated by means of Pomo Indians, Euro-American ranchers and vintners, and Mexican American migrant workers, Valerie Miner deftly juxtaposes differing cultural perspectives of wasteland, trespassing, and residential. Her dramatic novel is modern, whereas reflecting on centuries of switch in a possible Edenic place.Looking ahead to aid from her task as a urban planner in Chicago, Emily Adams starts a much-needed holiday at her Northern California cabin. however the surprising loss of life of her existence accomplice forces her to re-evaluate own commitments. stuck up in mirrored image, she involves comprehend the intricacies of existence in her pastoral retreat—complexities that she had by no means earlier than considered.In the modern day Eden of California’s coastal variety, Emily reveals clash throughout her: among loggers and environmentalists, farmworkers and immigration specialists, newbies setting up a lesbian group and long-time citizens clinging to standard ways.As Emily learns to beat grief, her tale strikes from loss to renewal for either the person and the neighborhood. A decidedly feminist view of the recent West, After Eden weaves lyrical prose with a unique examine “family values” and what it fairly potential to be human.

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The barking grew louder, swifter. ‘‘That’s right, your favorite musician’s coming home. ’’ Phoenix stood on the deck, wagging a feathery tail and cocking her large head. ‘‘Come on, girl. ’’ She gripped the carrier bag. ’’ Emily loved running along the ridge, watching the Mendocino hills folding one after another into golden velvet under clear blue sky. In Chicago she jogged sometimes, but the pavement hurt her feet, shins, eyes. Most of her city running was to catch a bus or train, Emily, so conscious of time and destination that she didn’t notice the process of moving her arms and legs, never felt part of a larger landscape.

Line of defense established, she turned her attention to repairing the west siding. How enjoyable to be working outside—stretching arm and leg muscles as she squatted and measured and sawed and hammered and brushed. So good to be using her whole body after six days of sitting in the car, after ten months of ‘‘working’’ at a computer screen and keyboard and telephone. How odd humans would look if they evolved to perform these tasks. Would they eventually develop large eyes and ears and mouths and fingers on the stems of tiny torsos?

Salerno insisted that Teresa hadn’t died for Emily, for her sins, her future, her happiness. Teresa’s death and Emily’s life were distinct phenomena. Being confined to the split-level house hadn’t killed Teresa, either. But Emily didn’t believe this. Six forty-five. Emily looked up to see Joyce leading the two sopping dogs into the house. Salerno and Vicky would be driving through the old wooden gate any moment now. Combing wet hair with her fingers, she decided she was dry enough to get back into her jeans and shirt.

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