by Gloria Nagy
“She would always remember the night before he died…”
And so begins Eve’s story. A story of tragedy and hope, humor and pathos, good and evil. Set in the 1980s when sexual stigmas were still extreme, it is a story that celebrates the power of the human spirit to overcome despair and find grace.NATURAL SELECTIONS is the bizarre yet touching story of Eve—a woman who transcends the rules of her family, society, religion, and even her own body to be true to herself. She is a woman trapped in a man’s form.
From Publishers Weekly:
Blond, blue-eyed Adam is the last hope for the survival of the family name. There is one problem, however; Adam believes that he is a girl imprisoned in a boy’s body. He becomes a minister, is trapped into marriage by his pregnant girlfriend, and leads a conventional life until one of his parishioners, Lily, confesses that she is a transsexual. Adam’s desire to be a woman becomes overwhelming; on Lily’s advice, he flees north for a sex-change operation. As Eve, Adam becomes a TV evangelist who pairs God with exercise and falls in love with Nathan Poe, a Jewish TV journalistthe novel’s narrator. The story reaches a feverish crescendo when voices from the past threaten to ruin Eve’s promising future by disclosing her former identity….”
Excerpt from NATURAL SELECTIONS
She would always remember the night before he died, because of the eclipse. It was December. He set his alarm and went to sleep in his clothes to make the awakening less painful. He put on his heavy sheepskin jacket and walked to the Charles River and watched the moon disappear, leaving only a fine halo of platinum light in the sky. lt was very cold. He shivered and began to cry. He cried for his family and his lost childhood. He cried for his name, calling to himself softly as in prayer, “Adam”.
When he stopped, the top half of the moon was back, like a bloated egg sitting in an ebony cup. He breathed in deeply, wiping his swollen eyes with his cold white hand. He had always been alone, but he had never been this alone. He closed his eyes and saw his parents, his baby sister, his brother, standing in front of the mansion on Great River Road, smiling in white summer linens as if all on earth was safe and fine. He smelled beignets, chicory roasting and wet wartn air. He heard porch swings and mosquitoes. A sadness so deep it knotted his stomach.
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With searing wit and compassion, Gloria Nagy’s Natural Selections taps into the issues of the eighties with fascinating precision. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Bonnie Straus, Hour Magazine