2018 Finalist DRUNKEN DRUID BOOK AWARDS
2018 GOLD WINNER Human Relations Indie Book Awards
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A story of first love set in San Francisco in
the late 60's against a backdrop of flower
children, racial prejudice, and the
Harv sees Lani in the fog, her dancer's gait carrying her across the grassy slope toward
She is close enough now to touch, the rounded white headstones framing her long brown
hair and navy-blue eyes.
Those eyes scald him with accusation: he never said good-bye. His last words were, in
fact, ugly, slashing at her like sabers to make her run away from the danger.
"They were lies!" he shouts, and her eyes are ink running on wet paper.
He reaches out to pull her to him and stroke her hair, her cheek, but the fog swirls her
away and he is alone.
The mascara I didn't wash off before I went to bed has glued my eyelashes together. It
takes a minute to get my eyes open.
I have been rolling around all night and now I am tangled in my waist-length brown hair.
Dawn peeks in orange strips around the venetian blinds.
I close my eyes again and wander into a dream I'd had when the war was a dragon
devouring villages, rice paddies, American soldiers. A flame-edged dream of hurling
body parts. A leg hits me in the chest and I tumble onto a muddy path under a high canopy
of tropical green. I open my mouth to scream but I see a soldier in olive drab walking ahead
of me, black and big enough to fill the path and cast a shadow in the shadow-glutted jungle,
his mud-caked boots squelching in mold-ringed muck.
"Hey!" I shout, getting up and running after him.
He doesn't answer.
We trudge on in green half-light.
The jungle is an oven, steaming air blistering my throat with each breath. Sweat runs in
rivers down my forehead, my back, my legs. Dark damp splotches spread across my fatigues
and that godforsaken mud sucks at my boots.
Sure could use a cigarette.
"Harv!" I call to the soldier.
But he isn't Harv. Harv isn't black.
"You got a smoke?"
He turns, a grin flashing across his face. "Yeah, man."
He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a cigarette pack. His feet never stop moving.
His arm stretches back to me and just as my fingertips touch the pack, Fourth of July
fireworks blast through the trees.
The hand offering the cigarettes shoots straight up in the air.
His leg flies backward and knocks me into the mud, and pain like a thousand knives stabs
my chest, my belly, my legs.
This time I scream, and my scream wakes me up. Ash settles to the jungle floor and
dissolves in the mud, and the two-room house in Monterey that was my home twelve years
ago, in the fall of 1967, grows up around me. The light flooding through the gaudy paintings
on our windows---a sunk-eyed guy with waves of turquoise hair and a swirling purple beard,
and a woman with yellow cat eyes and a star-spangled face---spatters the walls with
HOME REVIEWS & COMMENTS
"Set in San Francisco in the mid-1960s during the height of the hippie
movement and Vietnam War, EDEN tells of the prophetic dream of teen
flower child Lani, whose boyfriend Harv Stetson is sent home in a coffin.
There's one twist to the story: in a prophetic dream about his death, she'd
seen him as a black man. And when she opens his coffin, the same black
man is there...not Harv.
"Chapter 2 explains the puzzle from Harv's perspective, but adds an
extra dimension of angst as events unfold with the reader now cognizant
of both Harv and Lani's very different realities.
"Between a sergeant who condones a deadly choice, a girlfriend who can
never understand the politics and pressures of being a grunt in Vietnam,
a prophetic dream that threatens the best-laid plans, and the atmospheric
unraveling of American society during the 1960s, EDEN represents a
compelling blend of murder mystery, 1960s social exploration, romance,
"As race relations enter into the picture to influence decisions and
deadly choices, readers are treated to an absorbing interplay of events
solidified by events of the 1960s....
"As truth, lies, dreams and reality become jumbled, readers receive a
powerful survey that is mercurial and hard to put down. EDEN is a
powerful novel that will leave its readers reflecting long past its final
surprises and insights."
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Read the full review at
"I couldn't put the book down as I followed the young hippie, Lani, on a
thrilling journey of love and lust in the 1960's Bay Area. Linda Naseem's
superb imagery turns the words I read into a mental movie.
Incredible!" AN, Colorado Springs CO
"Having also grown up during the late 60's - this book brought me right
back to the feelings and issues of the times. It was clear the author also
experienced that era as well and I appreciated the opportunity to go back
with her to revisit. The story covered a lot - love, war, drugs, sex, racial
questioning, friendship, self-growth...all woven into an intricate yet
plausible plot. I found the bookcompelling and well worth the time
spent reading it."
Pat Rullo, Speak Up Talk Radio
"Sad ending. I had to cry. GREAT book...!! Really great book.... I'm a
NM, Colorado Springs CO
"I was intrigued that you incorporated the race issue at the time and I
thought that was well captured...I enjoyed it very much."
RS, Seaside CA
"Eden is a modern-day Macbeth, only even more poignant! Listening to
the voice of evil, even from a loved one, instead of one's own 'small voice,'
and how this leads to tragedy of deceptions and insecurities is a universal,
classic theme, but told in Eden in a way that engulfs one's very soul.
GH, Glacier WA