Book Review: 'The Language Of Paradise' NPR's Alan Cheuse reviews The Language of Paradise by Barbara Klein Moss.


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Book Review: 'The Language Of Paradise'

Book Review: 'The Language Of Paradise'

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NPR's Alan Cheuse reviews The Language of Paradise by Barbara Klein Moss.


"The Language Of Paradise." That's the title of a new book by first-time novelist Barbara Klein Moss. "The Language Of Paradise" sounds lovely, but it's much more complicated. Alan Cheuse has our review.

ALAN CHEUSE, BYLINE: A promising marriage falls victim to the utopian ideas of a scholarly husband. And it does promise a lot, this marriage, at the beginning - this union of a lovely, wild daughter of a straight-laced minister businessman and a pastor-to-be. Sophy Hedge is a budding painter. Gideon Birdsall is a student of Hebrew and a fanatic on the question of what language ruled in the Garden of Eden. The novelist herself employs a plane-voiced diction suitable for the 1830s to describe the growing love between Sophy and Gideon, the family matters in which the couple becomes embroiled and the rise of husband Gideon's wildly romantic attempt to duplicate the condition of Eden as a setting for the arrival of their first child.

He and a visionary friend construct a greenhouse and a garden they regard as paradise-like - a place in which they hope the newborn will remain in silence until he or she speaks in the first language of mankind, which may sound a little wacky to us, but it's convincing at first for Sophy and because of that, convincing for the reader. Until things, as they usually do in paradise, go spectacularly awry.

BLOCK: The book is "The Language Of Paradise" by Barbara Klein Moss. Alan Cheuse had our review. His most recent novel is "Prayers For The Living."

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