This Other Eden
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About the Author
Paul Harding is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tinkers, and Enon. He is director of the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature at Stony Brook University, and lives on Long Island, New York.
Tender, magical, and haunting, Paul Harding's This Other Eden is that rare novel that makes profound claims on our present age while being, very simply, a graceful performance of language and storytelling. Here is prose that touchingly holds its imagined island community in a light that can only be described as generous and dazzling. I have not read a novel this achingly beautiful in a while, nor one in which the fate of its characters I will not soon forget.--Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man
There is no writer alive anything like Paul Harding, and This Other Eden proves it: astonishingly beautiful, humane, strange, interested in philosophy and the heart, stunningly written. It's about home, love, heredity, cruelty, and the very nature of art, so completely original it's hard to know how to describe it in a mere blurb, by which I mean: you must read this book.--Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum
Harding's gifts have found their fullest expression in This Other Eden. Pick any excerpt from these 200 pages and you will find that each sentence contains multitudes and works well by itself, and yet the chapters, the paragraphs, have also been sewn together into a numinous whole.... The novel impresses time and again because of the depth of Harding's sentences, their breathless angelic light.--Abhrajyoti Chakraborty "The Guardian"
A superb achievement...Harding combines an engrossing plot with deft characterizations and alluring language deeply attuned to nature's artistry. The biblical parallels, which naturally align with the characters' circumstances, add depth, and enhance the universality of the themes...This gorgeously limned portrait about family bonds, the loss of innocence, the insidious effects of racism, and the innate worthiness of individual lives will resonate long afterward.--Sarah Johnson "Booklist (starred review)"
[Harding] writes with the gravitas of a mythmaker...The pace of Harding's storytelling is stately, his descriptions, even of small events, gorgeous...This Other Eden is beautiful and agonizing--rather like the real place that inspired it.--Claire Messud "Harpers"
Harding, who won a dark-horse Pulitzer Prize for Tinkers, again demonstrates his gifts for concision and compassion in a narrative that balances historical fact with fully drawn characters...Sure to be a standout of 2023.--Bethanne Patrick "Los Angeles Times"
Pulitzer winner Harding (Tinkers) suffuses deep feeling into this understated yet wrenching story...It's a remarkable achievement.-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
In boldly lyrical prose, This Other Eden shows us a once-thriving racial utopia in its final days, at a time when race and science were colliding in chilling ways. In the stories of the Apple Islanders--especially that of Ethan Honey, spared a destructive fate because of his artistic gifts and his fair skin--we are made to confront the ambiguous nature of mercy, the limits of tolerance, and what it means to be truly saved. A luminous, thought-provoking novel.--Esi Edugyan, author of Washington Black
[This Other Eden] is a harrowing tale of paradise lost and a lyrical examination of people in isolation just trying to get by...[It] is a novel that is both devastating and meditative, a combination that is characteristic of Harding's work.--MJ Franklin "New York Times"
This Other Eden is ultimately a testament of love: love of kin, love of nature, love of art, love of self, love of home. Harding has written a novel out of poetry and sunlight, violent history and tender remembering. The humans he has created are, thankfully, not flattened into props and gimmicks, which sometimes happens when writers work across time and difference; instead they pulse with aliveness, dreamlike but tangible, so real it could make you weep.--Danez Smith "New York Times"