Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

Waiting for Eden

From the National Book Award finalist, a breathtakingly spare and shattering new novel that traces the intersection of three star-crossed lives.Eden Malcom lies in a bed, unable to move or to speak, imprisoned in his own mind. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his hospital room. He has never even met their young daughter. And he will never again see the friend and fellow soldier who didn't make it back home--and who narrates the novel...

Details Waiting for Eden

TitleWaiting for Eden
Release DateSep 25th, 2018
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreFiction, War, Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Historical Fiction

Reviews Waiting for Eden

  • Diane S ☔
    Many moons ago, when I was a junior in high school I read a book for my contemporary history class, called, Johnny got his gun. Several years back I read a novel called, Never let you go, and I had such a strong, visceral reation to those two books that they haunt me to this day. This book will join that list. In this slim, relatively short book, Ackerman has penned a powerful narrative on the horrible cost of war. Centering this story, that I'm ...
  • Jen
    A soldier lies in a hospital bed, charred beyond recognition.His wife and the ghost of his friend, whom narrates this, wait for him in death.After 3 years, he becomes conscious- unable to communicate but memories flood back.Wow. Amazingly descriptive writing- disturbingly so. A heartbreaking read bringing back the realities of war and the loss for those who go, those who return and the families left to cope.This was a stunning but too short of a ...
  • Elyse Walters
    So incredibly sad!I rarely read books like this. Heck, I’ve never read a book like this. The Iraq war - 15 years in at least seven countries- yet -it’s hard to feel the magnitude of how much this war has affected my life.... and my kids lives. I don’t know what I don’t know. This book has the potential to change thoughts in people. It has me. Mary is waiting for Eden: her husband to wake up and return to her. He’s returned from the war ...
  • JanB
    The opening line:“I want you to understand Mary and what she did. But I don’t know if you will. You’ve got to wonder if in the end you’d make the same choice, circumstances being similar, or even the same, God help you.”This book captivated me from the first line to the last. This is a powerful, heartbreaking read that should not be missed. The omniscient narrator is a dead soldier who served with his best friend, Eden, who now lies in ...
  • Karen
    4.5 Eden Malcom is in a place that no one should ever have to be... his previous 220 pound body is just a 70 lb. charred mass and they’ve cut all of him off up to the torso. He’s also unable to move or speak, trapped inside his mind... he’s a casualty of war.This story is about three main people.. Eden, his wife, and his friend and fellow soldier who didn’t make it out alive.A haunting read, but a necessary one.
  • Zoeytron
    The horrors of war brought home.  Small book, huge import.  Soul bruising.
  • Michelle
    Holy Hell! Talk about a punch to the gut. My heart has crumbled into a million pieces. I may have more to say later.Okay, now that I have had the weekend to digest my thoughts I have come to the conclusion that there is very little I can say to do this book any justice. I have never in my life read anything like this. It is absolutely harrowing. Eden is an Iraqi war veteran that was severely injured during an explosion. So much so that every thin...
  • Suzanne Leopold
    Eden Malcolm is an Iraqi war veteran who was severely burned by an explosion during a tour. He has been hospitalized for several years and is unable to move or communicate. He is visited daily by his wife, Mary, and has never seen his young daughter who was born while he was deployed. Eden was joined in Iraq by his best friend but he died in the same explosion. This friend serves as the narrator for the story which swaps back and forth between pr...
  • Meike
    This is an excellent Tournament of Books longlistee: Ackerman, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and also was a White House Fellow under the Obama administration, writes about a young soldier who has been injured so severely that he has to spend years in the burn unit of a military hospital. Shortly after being redeployed to Iraq, Eden and his unnamed friend had hit a pressure plate with their humvee - the dead friend is the narrator of this nov...
  • Rachel
    For being so sparse, Waiting for Eden manages to pack a powerful punch. Ackerman meditates with surprising insight (aided by potent religious symbolism) on the very nature of life and the impossible decisions we have to make when our loved ones are suffering. This was succinct and chilling.
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    4 stars 5 starsGiven the time to think about this book for the last two days, I have changed my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars. Not many books get this rating from me, but in afterthought I truly believe that this book should be one of them. Such a sad book. Sad, from the narrator of the story, to the circumstance of the story, all the way to the end of the story. Sad can only describe the situation of the story being told, but it is so instructi...
  • Tori (InToriLex)
    Actual Rating 3.5starsContent Warning: Graphic Descriptions of Torture and a Severely Injured PersonThis is a short emotional book that packs a lot of punch. The story is told from a unnamed narrator's perspective who is watching over Eden's family after Eden is injured. Eden lays severely injured and unable to move in the hospital, while his wife Mary refuses to let him pass on. The narrator explains Mary's and Eden's relationship leading up to ...
  • Kathleen
    Prepare to have your heart ripped out! Ackerman has written a poignant tale of a Marine warrior who has been severely injured in an IED incident—perhaps the worst injury sustained in the two Iraq wars. His best friend was killed in the same attack, and now lives in the ‘white world’ waiting for Eden to join him. Either Angel or ghost, the friend watches over Eden, Eden’s wife Mary, and Mary’s daughter, Andromeda. Of note, Mary has a tat...
  • Matthew
    A savage little sledgehammer of a book.
  • Christina Dalcher
    From the first three sentences of Elliot Ackerman's brilliant novel, I was drawn in. Just look at this, and ask yourself if you're not dying to know what Mary did and why:"I want you to understand Mary and what she did. But I don't know if you will. You've got to wonder if in the end you'd make the same choice, circumstances being similar, or even the same, God help you."Ah. Circumstances. Eden's circumstances are dire, painful, an unhappy outcom...
  • Ken
    This comes under the category of "mini-book," both for its total pages (173) and for its diminutive size (7 1/2" x 5 "). Thus, a quick read, and a National Book Award Finalist (though not a short-list finalist).Shades of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying only in that a guy lies dying for 173 pp. Shades, too, of The English Patient only in that the guy lying and dying is badly burnt, in this case from a detonation exploding his and the narrator's Humvee w...
  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    Normally I roll my eyes when publishers exaggerate in their marketing descriptions, but this one was no exaggeration: “a breathtakingly spare and shattering new novel.” Particularly the word shattering. That’s exactly what this novel is (plus, gut-punching). It’s rare to find an author that can tell such a powerful, immersive story in so few pages, but Ackerman (himself a Marine who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where...
  • Laura
    “That is something, he thought, to know what only the dead know. And what is that? All they know is they were once alive, and are dead only because of it.”Waiting for Eden is a powerful, mindf*ck of a book. A succinct tale told in three haunting voices—a bedridden, severely burned soldier, his wife, and his dead best friend. A story that hits on all the biggies in life—relationships, grief, guilt, loss, love, betrayal, and communication. ...
  • Will
    4.5 rounded down.
  • Lena♥Ribka
    A heart-breaking, powerful and overwhelming story. Beautifully written. Poetical.God. I wished it COULD turn into a paranormal HEA. *Crying and sobbing*
  • Tracey (Life and Literature)
    Waiting for Eden is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. It's a super quick read, but boy, if it does't pack a mighty punch! It's a story that is so full of emotion. I felt so much while I was reading it. It was devastating and heartbreaking and moving and intense. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it!
  • Sunita
    3.5 stars.I wanted to like this book more than I did. I admired the goals and parts of it were very effective, but it didn't have the sledgehammer-to-the-gut effect on me that it did for other readers, and I wasn't blown away by the quality of the prose. The book is a contemporary take on Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, but with the politics removed and the center of conflict and narrative shifted to the family-and-friends universe. Eden is a...
  • debra
    Extremely well written. I felt this was about more than the horrors of war. I felt it had a lot to say about end of life decisions, and(view spoiler)[I friggin hate Mary. Not for the baby, but for thinking she had the right to put her will above Eden's and the health professional who tried to explain his pain- like that needed explaining. (hide spoiler)]
  • Bonnie Brody
    'Waiting for Eden' is a short but powerful novel about Eden, a man who was horribly injured during his second deployment in Afghanistan. The book is narrated by his friend who died during this same deployment but hovers over Eden and narrates the novel.Eden is barely alive. His body has been burnt and blown up and there is not all that much left of him physically. "My friend was, they'd been told, the most wounded man from both the wars. As advan...
  • Barbara
    Author Elliot Ackerman knows about war veterans because he’s served five tours of duty in Iraq. He understands suffering that families go through along with our men of war. In “Waiting for Eden” he provides the reader with a glance at what veterans go through when they return badly harmed from war. He also provides the reader with what emotional horror families endure bedside, attending to their wounded warriors.Eden is a war vet who was se...
  • Laxmama
    Wow how do you review this book… 3.5STARS. It is a truly powerful and heartbreaking story about a severely injured soldier returning home. The story is written wonderfully, although at times so difficult to read or for me listen it really shocked me. Let me say the narration was incredible I am going to look up this narrator. So why three stars? For for me it was so depressing, sad and a bit strange. Yes I understand the topic and understand wh...
  • Wulfwyn
    I cried through this book. I am so grateful to Goodreads, the author and Knopf Publishing for offering this book in a giveaway. I might not have discovered it otherwise. Yes, I did win a paperback copy. This review is my honest opinion. My son was just 18 when he went to Iraq. What happened to Eden and our narrator were my nightmares the entire time he was deployed. I waited to hear from him. I waited for someone to come to my door. I waited and ...
  • Zulfiya
    That book leveled me, gut-punched me, bulldozed me, and rammed me. I never expected this emotional reaction. What's is more - this book was under my radar, and on a whim, I checked it out, and as it was due three days from now, I decided to read it yesterday. You guessed it - it was read in one sitting, and in a very painful one, but the one when you could not stop hurting and harming yourself. The prose was hauntingly beautiful in its crispness,...
  • Holly
    Christ. This story is merciless. I started listening to the quiet narrator of the audiobook in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, and ended up hearing 2/3 of the story right there in the dark - kept awake, instead of being lulled to sleep. Put it aside during the daylight hours, then finished while walking home from my class last night, under the moonlight, slowing down my walking pace so that I wouldn't arrive home too soon. Yes, I c...
  • KC
    Waiting for Eden is a very small book with a huge impact covering the after effects of war. Poetically drafted text told from a veteran's POV who lies somewhere between heaven and Earth while watching over his friend and military comrade, Eden who helplessly lies in a hospital bed suffering from extremely serious and possibly fatal burns. Eden's wife Mary desperately tries to keep him tethered to what is waiting for him, her love, commitment and ...