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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

PROMO: Satan Came To Eden


I have been offered this gem of a book, I think it is criminal that these are allowed to slide into the dust of history, and am so glad somebody has come forward to bring them back to us.

My schedule means I will not be able to review it for a couple of months, most likely, but I felt it deserved some promotion now.

Give it some love and tell me what you think. I present Satan Came To Eden 

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After a wait of almost 80 years, this bizarre, completely true and utterly irresistible story of German colonists who fled to the uninhabited island of Floreana in the Galapagos in 1929 is once again available to readers around the world. Idealistic and intelligent, with no idea of what hardships they were about to face, this young couple sought  to forsake the political chaos and social complexities of life in post-World War I Berlin and to blend their lives into the harmony of the natural world.

Little did they know.

This is a story so rich in plot and character that no carefully scripted TV reality show could even come close to matching it. Can you imagine a couple leaving their respective spouses but trying to match them up prior to departure? How about taking the precaution of having all your teeth pulled out before you head off to the wilderness? And what were they thinking, to travel 7,000 miles to a lava deposit in the middle of the ocean without a rifle, proper tools or anesthetics? Or waking up one morning to the appearance of a pistol-wielding Austrian "Baroness" at the garden gate, announcing her plans to build a luxury hotel near your primitive homestead? Yes, this really happened.

Dore Strauch's memoir is not only fascinating, curious and eventful--it is also chilling. Little by little, the reader comes to witness the undoing of the couple's dream, as demons within and without torment them in their Eden.  Part adventure story, part travelogue, part psychological thriller, this cautionary tale about the perils of seeking paradise on earth is endlessly engrossing. One critic said: "It reads like a collaboration between Charles Darwin and Stephen King."

While various commentaries about why this handful of colonists chose to go to murderous war with each other have appeared in articles, blogs and even a recent film, the actual book existed only as a rare and expensive ($395 and up) hardcover, published in 1936 and never thereafter. Passing it from friend to friend, or tediously photocopying a precious original, was the only way to engage Strauch's original memoir, and to experience in sometimes uncomfortable intimacy both the light and dark sides of this unusual woman's soul.

That is, until now!

Satan Came To Eden is now available from as both a handsome paperback or a Kindle edition, with many rarely seen photographs from the Smithsonian Archives and a provocative new preface by the editor.


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