Review: Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

November 7, 2018
Waiting for Eden, Elliot Ackerman, MacLeod Andrews, InToriLex
Published By: Random House Audio on September 25, 2018
Format Read: Audio Book Edition (3hrs 27 mins) MacLeod Andrews (Narrator)
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Adult/ War
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Scribd
Waiting for Eden
Eden Malcom lies in a bed, unable to move or to speak, imprisoned in his own mind. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his hospital room. He has never even met their young daughter. And he will never again see the friend and fellow soldier who didn't make it back home--and who narrates the novel. But on Christmas, the one day Mary is not at his bedside, Eden's re-ordered consciousness comes flickering alive. As he begins to find a way to communicate, some troubling truths about his marriage--and about his life before he went to war--come to the surface. Is Eden the same man he once was: a husband, a friend, a father-to-be? What makes a life worth living?


Content Warning: Graphic Descriptions of Torture and a Severely Injured Person


This is a short emotional book that packs a lot of punch. The story is told from a unnamed narrator's perspective who is watching over Eden's family after Eden is injured. Eden lays severely injured and unable to move in the hospital, while his wife Mary refuses to let him pass on. The narrator explains Mary's and Eden's relationship leading up to the present. He suggests that you should know Mary's story before you judge her decisions.

Eden is described as a likeable guy who has been forever changed by war but finds it preferable to family life. The characters lives are interwoven and well developed as unique but flawed personalities. The reality Eden faces after his injury is brutal and the author holds no punches immersing you into that experience. There are descriptions of gore included that have stuck with me.

I paused many times while listening flooded with existential questions. It's a slow burn which leads to twists I didn't expect. This  character driven novel used a number of scenes in Mary and Eden's past to explain their relationship. However the plot itself was slow moving. Despite wanting more to happen, I was engaged and invested in these characters. The narrator kept the intrigue going and I was emotionally moved by this tragic story.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy character driven novels
- don't mind extensive descriptions of life after a severe injury
- enjoy philosophical musings with a dash of fantasy


Elliot Ackerman, InToriLex
Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. A former White House Fellow, his essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone, among others. He currently lives in Istanbul and writes on the Syrian Civil War

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