A novel about the biblical Eve appearing in the modern day.
Debut author Johnson begins this wild story with Eve, the first woman that God ever created, explaining to her driver that she’s headed for an interview. She needs to make her way to Joshua Tree National Park in order to speak with reporters Rick Langley and Cindy Vargas from News One Southern California. The man who’s driving her is simply referred to as “Dude,” and he converses with Eve as if they were old friends. The topics of their chatter move quickly from Eve’s poor diet (she apparently loves fast food) to ancient Rome to the 2009 sci-fi film Avatar. Underpinning the narrative, however, is the topic of Christianity. Dude is not keen on modern Christian adornments, and he’s not afraid to let other people know it. After Dude and Eve arrive at Joshua Tree, Eve speaks on camera with Cindy, but it’s hardly an ordinary interview. For example, Cindy is soon explaining how she cares for her own nipples, and she also reveals that she lost her virginity at the age of 16. The plot becomes progressively stranger and eventually incorporates a flying cat, the “Great Whore” of Babylon, and a trip to the moon. The narrative unfolds completely in conversation, and characters are prone to ellipses: “You know Cindy … you are a totally awesome … honest morning news show interviewing chick ….” It’s a loose style that gives the story a playful, if repetitive, tone. It also offers a poetic way to discuss such subjects as churchgoers who are “thinly veiled in pious false humility,” even if it doesn’t make for easy reading. Nevertheless, this ambitious novel does provide moments of real substance, as when a character notes that the Jesus-fish symbol, once a sign for persecuted Christians, has become little more than a bumper sticker. That said, there are also many distractions, including characters’ odd laughter (“Ha-ha-ah … cha-cha-cha … woo whoo, woo whoo”), which make the deeper elements easy to ignore.
A free-wheeling and often appealing tale, although its greater message sometimes gets lost in the chaos.