Chris Bohjalian has got to be one of today’s best American authors. When I think about each of his novels that I’ve read, I’m astounded at the depth and breadth of his subjects, from midwifery to post WW2 to the Great Gatsby to domestic violence, the focus of Secrets of Eden.
Secrets of Eden tells the story of the murder of Alice Hayward by her abusive husband and his subsequent suicide. Well, apparent suicide. It’s told in four sections by four narrators: the pastor, the state's attorney, an author who writes about angels, and the Hayward’s 15-year-old daughter. The questions each of them asks: what really happened here?
It is obvious that George killed Alice. But who killed George? The angle of the gun wasn't quite right for a suicide and, although everyone agrees that George was a scumbag, the state's attorney has an obligation to find his killer. The four narrators, who have four distinct voices, provide different perspectives on the life of George and Alice while investigating and analyzing their own lives.
It's a good psychological thriller, although certainly sad and disturbing, that's beautifully written.
Other Bohjalian novels I've reviewed:
The Double Bind
The Buffalo Soldier
Skeletons at the Feast