Eden ... an imaginary territory we could say. But, according to some studies and research done about writings from the Bible and Mesopotamian legends, this land would be found at the confluence of four rivers, two of which still exist today. It's about the Tigris and Euphrates. Starting from this point, and following the author’s direction in the title, Northwest of Eden, we find a country that many may not have heard or they could not be able to accurately locate on the map 25 years ago: Iraq. An area where the clay is thirsty for blood from ancient times, where it seems that violence has never missed from the picture, despite the fact that it was the cradle of some of the oldest and most impressive civilizations that humanity has known. What is sad is that in the very moments when I write these lines, the peace seems not to find place on that land. But leave aside this introduction that I did just because of the title the author gave to his book and let’s talk about the story itself.
First of all, it is about a true story and not a fictional one, and as much as we want not to be so, war is part of our way of being as a species. Yes, we are evil, violent, vengeful, but you will learn from this novel too that we are not doomed forever. Some of us are kind, compassionate and ready to help his fellow man in need, regardless of ethnic origin, social or gender. Do not hurry to jump to conclusions, it is not an ordinary book about war in which bullets are flying in any direction and the pages will be full of explosions. You will read a book in which not those that are found in the front line will be the heroes, but those that are behind the lines in the rear, women and men who are fighting to save lives not end them. A book in which you will experience with another facet of war in which no technical or military training will matters, but the humanity.
A novel about the human condition that is written by the author as a redemption. You will learn that war does not differentiate between children, old, men or women that the horrors and miseries of war zones not forgive anyone. The author will open a bit the door for you to this ugly world, but in this gloomy atmosphere you will get your moments of relaxation. And the outlet that makes everyone keep their mental health in such conditions is the humor. Of course the humor is a soldierly type one, based more on pranks, but who was in the army knows that military life is not a suitable environment for intellectual jokes. To make a parallel for you with the series M.A.S.H.? Frankly, it would not seem to be a pertinent one to me, just a facile one; you might get an idea of what I want to say to you, and you will be able to create a frame but nothing more. There are other problems, other times, another war, not to mention that Northwest of Eden is a real story and not a television series, albeit even M.A.S.H. has its controversial episodes which are not humorous.
You will surely love to read Yancy Caruthers’ novel not only because of the particular subject, but also because of his simple style, but on the good sense of the word, concise, savory, without complicated and tedious descriptions, with goings-on that are more or less strange, without abusing medical terminology that you might get bored. A book in which you will have the feeling that you stay in the face of the author and listen to him reeling more or less pleasant memories. Without doubt you will be captivated from the beginning to end.
Yancy Caruthers (1971- )grew up in Alton, MO, and joined the Army Reserves at 17. He became a nurse, and worked in several areas until finding a passion in emergency medicine, which ultimately led to a job with an air ambulance company. He served in Iraq two different times, and retired from the Army as a Captain.
After this experience, he decided to leave the medical profession and pursue other endeavors. He has now lived on three continents, and is hoping to reside on at least three more. He currently lives with his family in Nassau, The Bahamas.