David Downie, "The Gardener of Eden," with Francis di Tommaso
March 20, 2019, 7:00 PM
The fiction debut of David Downie, acclaimed author of numerous nonfiction titles, including A Passion for Paris, The Gardener of Eden is a haunting and luminous novel that explores the dark secrets lurking beneath the stunning natural beauty of a dying timber town.
A mysterious beachcomber appears one day on the coastal bluffs near the small town of Carverville, whose best days are long behind it. Who is he, and why has he returned after nearly forty years? Carverville’s prodigal son, James, serendipitously finds work at a gentrified motel, but soon finds his homecoming taking a sinister turn when he and a local teenager make a gruesome discovery, which force him to reckon with the ghosts of his past—and the dangers of the present. Rumors, distrust, and conspiracies spread among the townsfolk, all of them seemingly trapped in their claustrophobic and isolated world. But is there something even more sinister at work here than the mere fear of outsiders?
In The Gardener of Eden, David Downie weaves an intricate and compelling narrative of redemption, revenge, justice, and love—and the price of secrecy—as a community grapples with its tortured past and frightening future.
“The Gardener of Eden is a novel of great originality—lively, engaging, unexpected, sharp, and poetic. Downie is a master of the eerie and bizarre, and his character Beverley is one of the great literary creations of the century.” —Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen, longlisted for the National Book Award
“Part mystery, part family drama, David Downie’s richly imagined plot and masterful handling of details hooked me in from the start. His vivid and unforgettable characters, lush settings and page-turning narrative had me reading all night. Compelling and bittersweet, The Gardener of Eden lingered in my mind long after I finished it.”—Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key and The Rain Watcher
David Downie will be joined in conversation by Francis di Tommaso.
David Downie, a native San Franciscan, lived in New York, Providence, Rome and Milan before moving to Paris in the mid-80s. He divides his time between France and Italy. His travel, food and arts features have appeared in leading print and on-line publications including Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Saveur, Epicurious.com, and Gault & Millau, the premier French food guide. He is the author of over a dozen nonfiction books, including the highly acclaimed Paris, Paris and A Passion for Paris.
Francis di Tommaso has been director of the galleries at the School of Visual Arts since the early 1990s. He came to New York in the late 1970s as a young artist and has continued live and practice his art here ever since.