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The Edge of Eden

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
“Not since Lord of the Flies has a novelist written with such perceptiveness about the potential for harm that lurks within the innocence of childhood.”—Paula Sharp, author of Crows over a Wheatfield

"A wonderful novel and a true page-turner, a vivid story."—Joan Silber, author of The Size of the World

“Reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh in its biting satire and Somerset Maugham.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Soho Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 09, 2014 Silvia rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's the best one I read based in the Seychelles: such a good story, brilliant characters, various different plots and themes, and - most surprising of all - a serious account of the less obvious consequences of the Second World War in the younger British generation. Great read, I'd recommend it to anyone who'd like to know more about the islands, is interested in British colonialism, or simply an entertaining family story.
Sadly, because I didn't think this book was absolutely great, the review has been shelved and likely won't be published. So, here it is:

Helen Benedict’s paradisial edge is as rugged and complex as the borders of her characters’ native islands. The most apparent dark side of eden is the negative affects of colonialism on both the colonized and the colonizers. But Benedict’s fiction also does not hide from the very real contrasting sides to love—jealosy, hate, regret—and the depth of the affects o
Jul 30, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok
A perfectly engaging story, but not, as promised by my local bookseller, well-written, Woolfian prose. Okay, admittedly, promising that I'll like a book because it's like Woolf sets the bar pretty high for me, and so maybe I went into it with unfair expectations, but I actually found this book to be surprisingly poorly written. I kept feeling like I could see the machinations of Benedict's prose, as she worked extra hard to make sure all the plot pieces fit together: The people tasked to watch t ...more
May 17, 2010 Lindalee rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2014 Kristin rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more. The setting was exotic and the plot got into a little of the island culture. I think the story would have been more engaging with a few less characters and more editing. As it was, the arc of the story was rather flat and predictable. It didn't help that I listened to this book read by a narrator who, while creative in her voices, came across as rather stuck up during the whole of her reading.
Jun 25, 2015 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
I was hoping the book would be more about Seychelles people and less about pathological British colonial family crap. The story is okay I guess. Surveying the other reviews, I sense that readers are missing the comedy of the gri-gri merry-go-round. Jolly good farce with the wife, husband's lover and even the little Brit daughter casting spells in slapstick fashion. Glad to see that the author pulls her childhood memories of Seychelles into her novel.
Paula Hebert
Jan 25, 2010 Paula Hebert rated it liked it
this is a really interesting take on the fish out of water theme. we watch a very unlikable english family, including their two very young daughters, disintegrate after being relocated by the home office to an equatorial island between madagascar and india. combined with voodoo, racial stigma, and an excellent grasp of the native culture, it is really good story, and keeps your interest throughout.
This novel follows the break-up of a marriage, which occurs after a family relocation from England to the Seychelles. Unfortunately the location provides the only real excitement of the novel. Whilst some of the supporting characters are of some interest, the main characters are two-dimensional. As this is a character-driven story, the failing of these central characters leads to the failure of the novel as a whole. Disappointing, as the novelist describes the locale wonderfully!
Apr 15, 2010 Linda rated it it was ok
I liked this book much better than the two stars would suggest. Its is a real page turner and kept me in suspense. I absorbed the feel of the location, and ms Benedict was excellent with putiing you in the place of an ex-patriot in an exotic locale. The characters were not well developed and the plot line was disjointed. I would call this a great "pass the time read."
Mar 04, 2010 Allyson rated it really liked it
I thought this book a true page-turner and was not at all sure how it would end. Zara and Marguerite were very well developed characters and the author had fine descriptive skills. I felt I was right there living the story. The date of 1960 seemed incongrous but there were many such aspects that could have been better, but I quite enjoyed it.
Sep 22, 2012 Alice rated it liked it
A family can't seem to stop itself from making the mistakes of their parents, no matter how often they swear not to. Displace the family in a tropical climate - throw in some very exotic natives, and you've got this book. Not bad, but nothing felt resolved at the end.
Nov 02, 2011 Joe rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Fascinating story of a British family relocated to The Seychelles islands in the 1960s
What happens to a conservative British politician and his wife when they move to a tropical about Island Fever. Add in jealousy, sex and intrigue.
Elly Wendy
Sep 14, 2013 Elly Wendy rated it really liked it
Fascinating, hard to put down.
An extraordinary book, an education for me.
Denny Stein
May 07, 2010 Denny Stein rated it it was amazing
Lyrical and insightful descriptions of the Seychelles combine with a torpid atmosphere of deceit, magic, and misunderstanding to create a marvelous read. Highly recommend.
Mar 24, 2011 Janics added it
It was okay.
May 03, 2010 Ann rated it liked it

Beautiful descriptions of the Seychelles but the end of the book was unfulfilling and generally a disappointment.
Jun 10, 2010 Linda rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Well, I read 177 of the 301 pages in this book and decided that I just didn't want to read anymore! I wasn't really interested in the characters or the story. Very disappointing. Time to move on!!
Jan 25, 2010 Andrea rated it it was ok
This was only ok. It was a fairly interesting story, but it had way too much sexual content for my taste.

I finished it thinking... so... what? Not my favorite. Wouldn't recommend it... sorry!
Jan 03, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
The atmosphere was nearly oppressive - it follows a displaced English family that is basically a train wreck in the making. I found the oldest daughter annoying as well as the husband.
Christi rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2010
Naomi rated it it was ok
Feb 05, 2017
Davey Baker
Davey Baker rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2016
Ariel Johnson
Ariel Johnson rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2015
S rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2010
Jo-Lane Birkigt
Jo-Lane Birkigt rated it liked it
Sep 29, 2010
Shane Stephens
Shane Stephens rated it liked it
Oct 15, 2012
Ashley Newton
Ashley Newton rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2014
Cassandra rated it liked it
Oct 18, 2014
Megan Kendel
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Oct 30, 2015
Autumn rated it liked it
Feb 19, 2010
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Helen Benedict is an award-winning novelist and writer of nonfiction. Her sixth and newest novel, Sand Queen, is to be published by Soho Press in August, 2011. The novel tells the story of a young female soldier and an Iraqi woman caught up in the Iraq War.

Publisher’s Weekly called Sand Queen “a thrilling and thoughtful new novel.” Booklist said, “Funny, shocking, painful, and, at times, deeply d
More about Helen Benedict...

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