EVELESS EDEN by Marianne Wiggins


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From Wiggins (Herself in Love, 1987; John Dollar, 1988; etc.): a novel about ambition, love, and politics that reaches for emotion but is better at capturing attitude. Noah John, at 40-plus, is a tough-talking veteran journalist and head of the London bureau of a newspaper that sounds like the New York Times but isn't. Hard-boiled as Noah may be after having been everywhere and having seen everything (though he's also sensitive, being said to cry too easily), he's still on the lookout for love--and his life is changed forever in 1986, when, covering a natural disaster in Cameroon, he meets the world-famous photojournalist known as Divi ("" 'I didn't know you were Noah John,' she said....'I didn't know you're ""Divi"",' I said...""). The beautiful, ambitious, driving, independent, dedicated Divi, who will remind many of a latter-day Leni Riefenstahl, has the real name of Lilith Luciana da Vinci; is the child of parents who were internationally known opera impresarios and voice teachers; has inherited their perfect apartment in Paris; and falls for Noah John in a trice. All is well for a couple of sensually blissful years, until Lilith suddenly gets itchy; is hit by a car in London driven by Romania's Minister of Trade, Adam Pentr£; and in a mini-trice drops Noah for Adam. The result isn't good, Noah falling into midlife despond and Lilith into nightmare, atrocity, and ruthless depravity inside dictator Ceau escu's--and Adam Pentr£'s--Romania. Another assignment, however, will bring Noah there also; and though he won't find Lilith--that'll have to wait until later, after Adam's mysterious death--he'll discover more than enough for a single lover, and for any dozen journalists. Romance, adventure, and politics from New York to Paris to London to Berlin to Timioara: Wiggins carries these forward with knowledgeable zest, but the deeper themes just don't have the voices here to lift them convincingly.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1995
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: HarperCollins