Adam and Evelyn by Ingo Schulze

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Synopsis

From one of Germany’s finest writers comes a wonderfully light and humorous novel set during the tumultuous events of 1989. A wobbling Hungary has just opened its borders to Austria enabling a flood of refugees to escape, the Berlin Wall is on the cusp of falling, and, yet, seemingly sheltered from this onrushing new world in their idyllic East German home are Adam, a tailor and dressmaker who enjoys a life of dressing (and undressing) his appreciative clientele, and Evelyn, Adam’s restless girlfriend.
 
Having just unexpectedly quit her job as a waitress, Evelyn returns home one day to find Adam sleeping with one of his customers. Calmly, but quickly, Evelyn packs her belongings and runs off to Hungary on a vacation she had originally planned to take with Adam. Accompanying Evelyn on her journey is her friend Simone and Michael, Simone’s West German cousin. In hot pursuit, however, to everyone’s surprise or dismay, is Adam. Following the group in his family’s rickety 1961 Communist-made automobile, Adam chases after Evelyn, banishing himself from his Garden of Eden as she pursues her very own idea of heaven. As Adam and Evelyn are swept out on a Western tide of new freedoms—helping refugees and helping themselves to impetuous trysts with others along the way—they find themselves forced to adjust to life in a world forever changed. Paradise regained? Perhaps not.
 
Upending our expectations from the start, Adam and Evelyn is a deceptively simple love story that will enthrall longtime readers and those new to the delights of Ingo Schulze’s stories alike.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Ingo Schulze

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Schulze studied classical philology at the University of Jena. His first book won both the prestigious Doblin Prize and the Willner Prize for literature. John E. Woods won both the 1981 American Book Award and PEN award for his translation of Schmidt's "Evening Edged in Gold" and has published a new translation of Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks".
 
Published November 8, 2011 by Knopf. 305 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Adam and Evelyn

The New York Times

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It was a book of spare and surreal stories, with a descriptive subtitle: “From the Fantastical Notes of a German in St. Petersburg.” He followed this in 1998 with “Simple Stories,” a novel of interlinking narratives that pieced together East Germany’s history in the tense wake of reunification, a...

Dec 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

Publishers Weekly

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There’s no doubt that Schulze (One More Story: Thirteen Stories in the Time-Honored Mode) wants to evoke Adam and Eve cast out of paradise with his latest novel.

Sep 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

The Washington Post

“A couple hundred people ran and ran and they were gone.” Katja has already risked her life trying to swim the Danube to get out, or in — it’s unclear which — but this is a romantic comedy (or at least it starts that way), so there’s nothing tragic about her attempt.

Dec 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

San Francisco Chronicle

But unlike that long, bitter epistolary saga, "Adam and Evelyn" is - at least initially - a lighter, more entertaining read, more akin to his story collections, which include "33 Moments of Happiness."

Nov 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

The Columbus Dispatch

Adam and Evelyn eventually cross.

Nov 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

Bookmarks Magazine

As Adam and Evelyn are swept out on a Western tide of new freedoms—helping refugees and helping themselves to impetuous trysts with others along the way—they find themselves forced to adjust to life in a world forever changed.

Dec 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

The New Yorker

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Dec 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

Alibi

On a lighter note, the occasional German word that appears in Adam and Evelyn makes me want to go out and learn German.

Feb 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Adam and Evelyn

Reader Rating for Adam and Evelyn
57%

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