Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen

What a beautifully written book.  I read it too fast, and I know I’d enjoy reading it again at a slower pace to soak up the craft and language.

Not surprisingly, the book is about a girl called Eva Trout. Eva is orphaned at a young age and lives under the guardianship of her father’s friend Constantine, though from afar. As she nears her 25th birthday, when she will come into her father’s money and no longer need guardianship, she begins to exhibit some worrying behavior (sells her Jaguar and disappears).

Bowen has an incredible voice and I love how, for the most part, nothing is actually talked about, not explicitly, in this book. Well, for the most part. I was always guessing about what the ‘whole story’ was, and I think that was Bowen’s intention. I don’t usually talk too much about details or endings, because I hate spoilers, but since this one was published in 1968, I am guessing lots of people have read this one already (and there is lots of talk out there about the ending). That said, you’ve been warned.

She dies? Really? I’m all for poetic endings but this was … well. Not the mandate. I mean, it was an amazing book, but you know how I feel about happy wrap-ups to the storyline these days: they’re necessary.  This made me think about Stranger Than Fiction, you know, when Emma Thompson’s character is forced to consider whether it is imperative to kill off Harold Crick at the end of her book? And why are there always children involved? That just seems a bit like shameless heartstring-pulling to me. I’m just sayin.

I’m glad I’ve discovered Bowen, though. What a talent.

I’ve started on Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. So far I’m loving it!


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