Out of the garden


Translated from German by John E. Woods, Ingo Schulze’s Adam and Evelyn is an unconventional love story set in 1989 at the brink of the Cold War’s end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Adam, a talented tailor, and his girlfriend, Evelyn, have an idyllic life in East Germany, until Evelyn arrives home one day to find Adam sleeping with a client. She embarks on a vacation to Hungary, hoping to be free of Adam, only to find that he is following her to the vacation spot, along with their pet turtle. Schulze keeps the biblical allusions light and writes with stark realism and shockingly authentic dialogue. His characters, while incredibly genuine human beings, still remain distant from the reader. Adam and Evelyn is set in a fascinating time, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to sympathizing with the characters; instead, it often feels like a history lesson in fictional form.