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Publisher's Summary

“Patiently, and unflinchingly, Ackerman is becoming one of the great poet laureates of America’s tragic adventurism across the globe.” (Pico Iyer)

Eden lies in a hospital bed, unable to move or speak. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his room. We see them through the eyes of Eden’s best friend, a fellow Marine who didn’t make it back home — and who must relive the secrets held between all three of them as he waits for Eden to finally, mercifully die and join him in whatever comes after.  

A breathtakingly spare and shattering novel that explores the unseen aftereffects — and unacknowledged casualties — of war, Waiting for Eden is a piercingly insightful, deeply felt meditation on loyalty, friendship, betrayal, and love.   

“The Tim O’Brien of our era.” (Vogue)

“Devastating.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Haunting.... Daring.” (The Boston Globe

“Heart-wrenching.” (NPR)

©2018 Elliot Ackerman (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Gorgeously constructed...Unique...A deeply moving portrayal of how grief can begin even while our loved ones still cling to life.... A wonderful novel.” (Booklist, starred review)

“With Waiting for Eden, Elliot Ackerman tells a story that cuts straight to the heart of the human condition. His sentences are elegant in their concision and directness, and they reveal as much about grief, love, and our duties to each other as any book I can recall reading. It’s a bold, ambitious project even in its most quiet moments, for it asks no less than where we draw the line around the inherent value of human life. This is a devastatingly sad and compassionate piece of work. Extraordinary.” (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds and A Shout in the Ruins)

“Heartbreaking.... A deeply touching exploration of resentment, longing, and loss.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about Waiting for Eden

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  • Overall
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Mesmerizing

I thought The hypnotic drone of Macleod Andrews would drive me crazy but it so fit the tone and mood of Ackerman’s brilliant writing that I was mesmerized throughout. I Consumed entire story in one sitting. Reminded me of Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich. Tough stuff but worth the pain.

3 people found this helpful

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Short but emotional

This isn't easy listening. The characters are damaged in ways both emotional and physical. *Spoiler* the ending leaves Eden in limbo, but the final paragraph is beautiful. Be prepared to need Kleenex. And I can't rave enough about the pitch-perfect narration by MacLeod Andrews.

2 people found this helpful

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Strap yourself in for this...

Heartbreakingly beautiful. I finished this in several hours throughout the day. I am awed by the beauty and intensity of this story. It's pure love on every level. It will remain with me for a long time, perhaps forever.

1 person found this helpful

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a master work

Brilliant and unlike anything I have ever read in terms of its story, its form, each nuance it shapes, each word it crafts.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing story

Well performed
A tale of love, seeming betrayal, unexpected events, brought tears to my eyes


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Tragic but beautiful

Waiting for Eden is a magnificent book. It’s definitely a bit dark and saddening at times, but it’s so well written, you have to appreciate the sorrow. The book is about a wounded soldier on deaths door, as complications arise between his soon to be widow, and another soldier who was friends with the dying man. From there things unravel slowly, yet poetically, and each character is struggling and flawed in unique ways. For a short book, you get everything you want out of a novel.

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AMAZING!!!!

Fantastic story, real and not the least bit pretentious (unlike the other recent release by another female comic). Rabbit is a moving recounting of a turbulent upbringing, and how her love of family and the love of her partner gave Ms. Pat peace and helped her realize her dream in more ways than one. This book is masterfully narrated, and is one I️ will keep in my arsenal for continued inspiration

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