Verdict: THE EVOLUTION OF ADAM offers a fun adventure for those interested in spirituality and the concept of reincarnation.
Author Dan Ford’s THE EVOLUTION OF ADAM revolves around a group of friends who realize that they are the reincarnations of members of the lost city of Atlantis. They ban together to try and fulfill their spiritual destiny: their escape from the physical world and reunion with the Supreme Consciousness, an all-knowing, god-like figure. They must first thwart the plans of another reincarnated woman, one who is less willing to give up her earthly pleasures, if they ever want to break their cycle of reincarnation.
THE EVOLUTION OF ADAM will most likely appeal to readers with an interest in spirituality. Though not explicitly in support of any religion (Ford is quick to note that his Zenithians are not connected in any way to Christianity), the novel expects readers to buy its talk of reincarnation and the superiority of the spiritual over the physical. The novel is not quite strong enough to appeal to an audience of skeptics as well as believers, though those interested in the spiritual may enjoy the group’s quest for the lost city.
THE EVOLUTION OF ADAM suffers, however, is in its writing. Ford’s writing style tends to be a bit clunky and awkward, with dialog that’s sometimes too formal and often unnatural sounding. For example, when Tanya asks Adam whether he’s ever been to Ecuador, he replies, “No, and I never planned on going, but I am sure that I will, rather than suffer an entire month without seeing you.” It’s often hard to picture actual people speaking like Ford’s characters.
Often paragraphs are weighed down with an excess of unnecessary detail, such as exactly what the characters had for breakfast, and that no one wanted to share the pizza a few characters bought. The novel would benefit from a general cleanup, with Ford cutting some of the fat away and getting rid of those unnecessary and distracting details. Punctuation errors, mostly misplaced commas and missing quotation marks, at times made it difficult to figure out who was speaking.
The way that the novel treats its homosexual characters is also problematic. On one hand, Ford explicitly states that Buck and Antonio, a gay couple, are well liked by their friends and wonderful people. He writes openly about their loving relationship and seems committed to stressing to his readers that he accepts their lifestyle. This point is so stressed, however, that at times it comes across as though Ford is trying to convince both readers and himself that he is comfortable around homosexuals. He tends to make a number of sweeping generalizations that are offensive, despite Ford’s attempts to show his gay characters in a good light. For instance, when describing Antonio as both ruggedly handsome and refined, he follows with, “This wasn’t an unusual combination for anyone, but totally unexpected on a gay man, at least if you hung on to any stereotypical notions.” Lines like this are uncomfortable to read, and undermine Ford’s talk of equality and tolerance.
THE EVOLUTION OF ADAM is a fun adventure for those interested in spirituality and the concept of reincarnation.