Abacus, Anita Shreve, Author, Book review, Fiction, general, literary fiction, Publisher, Setting, USA

‘Eden Close’ by Anita Shreve


Fiction – paperback; Abacus; 265 pages; 1994.

Eden Close is a kind of sweet, simply told novel, the first by the prolific Anita Shreve, which explores the notion of love and loss.

It’s about a man, Andrew, who returns to his childhood home after the death of his mother. As he packs up her things and makes plans to sell her home, he finds himself reminiscing about the past and reflecting on an horrific incident that still haunts him. He was only a teenager when his neighbour, Jim Close, was shot and killed in his home. Jim’s daughter, Eden, Andrew’s childhood companion, was blinded in the incident.

Seventeen years on, Eden still lives at home with her elderly mother, but is shut off from the world with no friends and no life. Andrew tries to befriend her again and in doing so, begins to slowly chip away at the secrets Eden has kept all these years about the real truth of that murderous night in which her life was changed forever.

Shreve’s languid prose adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of life in small town America. But at times I felt the story was a little dull and slow-paced and tended to work over the same ground again and again.

Despite this, the climax was unexpected and worth waiting for. Still, if you haven’t read anything by Shreve before, I’m not sure this is the first place to start; her other novels are more accomplished.

12 thoughts on “‘Eden Close’ by Anita Shreve”

  1. i really enjoy anti shreve’s novels.
    although i have only read one, i beleive that she expresses a lot of emotions in her novels.
    it is done really well.
    i look foward to reading more of her novels


  2. I read this book for my AS level in English Language and Literature and was really impressed by how Shreve creates such a vivid atmosphere – it seems almost real. The Climax was totally unexpected and I felt that ir did get boring and dull at times. Also I feel that blind Eden doesn’t have much character, she seems realy flat and 2 dimensional. Overall though I’d recommend this to anyone.


  3. I have a lot of Anita Shreve’s books, and thought at first that I hadn’t read this one yet. But then you’re review sounded familiar and I guess I did read it. I enjoy Shreve a lot but maybe this isn’t her most memorable book although I did enjoy it at the time.


  4. I didn’t really like this book.
    It just doesn’t feel real, and the characters do not seem believable to me.


  5. I have to study this book for as part of an English Language and Literature AS Level and I have to be honest and say it is melodramatic nonsense. There is a lack of likable characters, an unbelievable ‘happy’ ending and the writing itself is over complicated and overly verbose. Shreve seems intent on making her sentences as long as she possibly can through the addition of un-necessary words and information. In all honest I am at a complete loss as to why this is a set text for an English exam as it is, at best, a very mediocre example of contemporary fiction.


  6. I actually think this is among her best works – A lot of subsequent novels are rather transparent plot wise. This one has lot of surprises that pull it all together. I highly recommend it as a first read of Shreve’s works


  7. I found the same thing – I am studying it this year. Is very poor – language wise and I much prefer the literature side of the course. Is a poor book, surely the exam board could come up with something better?


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