A novel that works on many levels—the personal, the political and even the mythological.
This Adam and “Evi” are a couple in the decidedly non-Edenic world of East Germany in 1989. Adam is a tailor, and a good one, who makes gorgeous clothes for women. And while he loves to dress them, unfortunately for Evi he also loves to undress them, and his infidelities ultimately become too much for her to bear, especially once she catches him in flagrante delicto. She takes off for greener pastures in the West, closely followed by Adam. Along the way Adam links up with Katja, a young woman whom he helps smuggle through the Hungarian border. While Adam and Katja don’t have quite an affair, they’re obviously attracted to one another—as Evi is to her traveling companion Michael. The narrative becomes one of a journey, as characters continue moving toward freedom and away from the confines of their original “garden.” Eventually they end up in West Germany on the eve of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Adam’s pursuit of his Evi is not in vain, and she finds herself still attracted to him. All of the characters’ lives get even more complicated when Evi discovers she’s pregnant and is not sure who the father is. Schulze’s clever plotting works on parallel tracks, so when Evi exclaims to Katja that Adam “acts like he’s the first and only person on earth,” the resonance goes all the way back to Genesis.
A novel rich in dialogue and in its examination of a contemporary fall from grace.