In a crowded bar in West Africa, Noah John, a disillusioned American correspondent, falls for the woman of his dreams - Lilith - a passionate, beautiful, danger-seeking press photographer. This is the story of love gone wrong and optimism betrayed.In a crowded bar in West Africa, Noah John, a disillusioned American correspondent, falls for the woman of his dreams - Lilith - a passionate, beautiful, danger-seeking press photographer. This is the story of love gone wrong and optimism betrayed.Read Less
This novel is both a thriller and a love story inextricably linked to the major events that took place between 1986 and 1991: the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the downfall of the Ceausescu and the subsequent ending of the Communist regime in Romania. In the novel?s foreground are Noah John and Lilith da Vinci, a journalist and photographer respectively, who embark on a torrid affect that will inevitably, like the times they live in, change their lives forever.
I believe that any novel?s protagonists should have at least one good virtuous characteristic, one redeemable trait that a reader can use to justify following the character?s story through the novel. But in Noah John there is nothing to hang that particular hat on. He is a weak, charmless character who commits an abominable act halfway through the book that is never fully addressed. Though this act is an allusion to what is happening and will happen in Germany it still cannot be forgiven and for me was a emotional distraction as I read the rest of the book.
Lilith da Vinci is a more redeemable character but still not that likeable. She is a strong, brave character, sexual permissive and has a belief in highlighting, through her photographs, the horrors of war and the world we live in.
The backdrop that the novel is set against and the protagonist?s part in these events is what makes the novel interesting and worthwhile reading. The novel?s allegorical structure, set as it is within the historically tumultuous five years that shook the world to its political and social foundations, allows the lover?s affair and characterization to reflect and imbue the time they are living through.
Many of the novel?s minor characters are poorly and lazily drawn. For instance Noah?s Scottish friend is called Mac and is a heavy drinker. The author writes some of Mac?s dialogue in the vernacular but spells the words phonetically.
The novel?s backdrop and how these world events and the reader?s knowledge of how these will affect the 1990s and the 21st century is what makes this book readable, not the main characters Noah and Lilith who at times appear nothing more than ciphers to decode a world in upheaval. Then again maybe this was the author?s intention.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-08-28 Wiggins (John Dollar; Bet They'll Miss Us When We're Gone) treats the Bible, its characters and its literary conventions like clay in this maniacally energetic, densely allusive novel. The plot involves a love triangle amidst the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, and the themes include the search for moral direction amidst the accelerated pace of history. But the book is really about the voice of its narrator, a macho yet tender-hearted newspaperman named Noah, who, like his biblical namesake, is looking for a fresh start, a reprieve from a sinful world. ``What I wanted more than anything,'' he admits, ``was a reborn innocence.'' Unlike the ark-builder, this Noah has to work without benefit of a cleansing flood. But he does have to deal with the sins of a man named Adam, in this case a Minister of Trade in Ceausescu's Romania, and with the woman they both love, a photographer named Lilith (who succinctly sums up the symbolism of her name by explaining: ``chick God made for Adam before Eve''). Noah and Lilith meet in Cameroon while covering a story about an ecological mishap (not a flood, but close). The pair live and work together in Paris and London, until Lilith is hit by a car driven by Adam Pentrú. Why Lilith leaves Noah for Adam is only superficially explained: she is drawn to power and danger, and Adam offers both. As Adam's mistress, Lilith also gets the chance secretly to photograph his involvement in the infamous Romanian orphanages and his trafficking in AIDS-infected blood. All of this is told in the nearly hysterical, often exhilarating voice of Noah, who, pursuing their trail, refers obsessively to books and movies, while across the tops of the pages, instead of chapter headers, there run parodies of Bible captions (e.g., ``what he feared'' and ``the aroma of Southern tobacco''). Wiggins leans too heavily on Noah's voice, on its heady blend of cynicism and passion, at the expense of fuller characterization (of Lilith and Adam) and smooth plotting. Less about the lovers than about the time they love in, this isn't a novel of great psychological complexity. But it is one of formidable intelligence and momentum. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.