Thursday, December 12, 2013

"After Eden"

Helen Douglas graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in economic history. After a stint as a subeditor in London, she moved to California, where she worked as a theatre director, then as an English teacher. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband and children.

Douglas applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, After Eden, and reported the following:
Eden, the sixteen year old narrator of the story, is at the beach with a group of friends, including new boy, Ryan. Eden assumes that Ryan is just a transfer student, but later on she will discover that he’s actually on a mission to save the world. At this point in the story, their friends are ‘tombstoning’ off the harbour wall into the sea, but Eden is too scared to do that. Ryan offers to keep her company and in this scene, they start to get to know one another.
I didn’t feel remotely interesting, sitting on the beach, too scared to join in with the fun my friends were having.

‘But you hardly know anything about me.’

Ryan laughed, just as Megan launched herself off the harbour wall with a scream. I watched as she swam towards the shore. From experience, I knew that they’d all repeat the jump four or five times before they tired of it and swam across the bay to Lucky Cove on the opposite headland.

‘Are you going to educate me?’ said Ryan.

I looked at him, lost. ‘What do you want to know?’

‘Everything.’ He was still smiling at me with his big, warm smile, a smile that was amused and friendly and just on the cusp of being flirtatious without quite crossing into it.
‘That could take a while,’ I said, feeling myself blush.

‘I don’t mind.’

I lay back on the sand and closed my eyes, enjoying the gentle caress of the April sunshine on my skin.

‘Everything is a big subject,’ I said. ‘How about you get to ask me three questions.’
This is actually quite representative of the book as a whole. The main focus of the narrative is the love story between Eden, who is a bit awkward, and Ryan, who isn’t supposed to be falling in love. Over the course of the novel, Eden becomes aware of just how small her world is, and decides to become part of something much bigger. She’s still quite fearful at this stage in the story and has lots of learn by the end of the book.
Learn more about the book and author at Helen Douglas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue