Fallen (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Fallen, the title of David Maine’s second novel, obviously refers to humanity’s first parents, Adam and Eve, and their unfortunate offspring Cain and Abel. Although the account in the biblical book of Genesis is straightforward, Maine presents its events in reverse order, through the perceptions of his four major characters, while everyone grows younger. In this respect, the book is reminiscent of Nobel Prize-winner Harold Pinter’s play Betrayal (pr. 1978), which likewise begins with short scenes from the unhappy present and works backward to a more idyllic time.
Maine begins with the imminent death of the fratricidal Cain as an old man, moves back through his youthful murder of his brother, Abel (which is covered in a single sentence), and ends with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. God is almost an afterthought, manifesting himself occasionally “in the form of a gray-bellied cloud” or rock and speaking cryptically in italics.
The novel is composed of four sections and forty short chapters, several with identical titles to signal a shift in viewpoint. Because the events are familiar, there is little suspense. Instead, the delight comes in Maine’s witty, unorthodox version, which is replete with irony. This First Family represents a multitude of races. Father Adam is bandy-legged and dark-skinned, with black, kinky hair; copper-haired Eve is pale and gray-eyed, with a propensity to give birth to...
(The entire section is 1854 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 22 (August, 2005): 1993.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 14 (July 15, 2005): 759.
The New York Times 154 (September 8, 2005): E9.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (October 30, 2005): 25.
People 64, no. 15 (October 10, 2005): 53.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 28 (July 18, 2005): 179.
The Washington Post, October 2, 2005, p. T4.
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