“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
A National Book Award finalist for Dark at the Crossing, former Marine Ackerman tells the heartbreaking story of a relationship caught up in the aftermath of war. Eden and Mary are happily married with a child on the way when Eden is deployed for his second tour in Iraq. After an accident leaves Eden's best friend dead and Eden barely alive, he returns home on a stretcher covered in severe burns and is unable to return to the life he'd led before. Mary, meanwhile, cares for their infant daughter and must wrestle with the hard decision of whether to take Eden off of life support. She is full of resentment and guilt, unable to forgive herself for letting him leave for war. Eden's best friend narrates caught in limbo between this world and the next and hovers over their lives, connecting to both in unexpected ways. He offers a bird's-eye view of the pain and suffering of both Mary and Eden as they struggle separately to make peace with Eden's imminent death. This is a deeply touching exploration of resentment, longing, and loss among those who volunteer to fight and the loved ones left behind.