Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Eva Trout" by Elizabeth Bowen

"I  will be back 3/17 for my day,
I hope to  see you then"-
Elizabeth Bowen
Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen (1968, 303 pages)

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Eva Trout is Elizabeth Bowen's last novel.      It is about a young woman, Eva Trout (great name! ), an orphan living with aunts and uncles.    When we meet her she is three months away  from the age where, according to the will of her parents, she will inherit a fortune.     Eva decides she  wants to go out on her own right away.    She figures if she sells her Jaguar,  she can live for three months on the proceeds of the sale.    Needless to say, Eva attracts her share of suitors and exploiters disguised as helpful friends.    Eva is a forceful person and can see   through most of the people around her.    There are a lot of interesting plots turns along the way to a horrible ending.    Bowen makes use of a  daring narrative device  I really liked.   Right in the midpoint of the novel she jumps eight years ahead in the lives of the characters.    

Bowen is marvelous at using minute observations to develop character.    The work ends on a very brutal and shocking note, made all the more brutal, to me any way, by the fact that it comes in  the context of the very refined world of Eva Trout.    I liked Eva Trout a lot.   Of the four novels by Bowen I have read, it is second best to me to In The Heat of the Day.    I will venture my over all comments on started with Bowen on March 17, Elizabeth Bowen Day during Irish Short Week.

Eva was a reader and she says something very interesting about the reading life during a conversations with one of the people whose job it was to guide this very wealthy young woman.   The male handler is trying to tell her she is too young and inexperienced to handle her own affairs.
I am capable de tout.   I am soiled by living more than a thousand lives;   I have lived through book ;    I have lived internally.
As I read this I began to think why and how she became "soiled" by reading.   I am still thinking about it and I think it expresses a deep truth about the reading life.   There is another great line by a minor character:  "The horrible thing about intelligence is its uselessness".

"Please do not leave me alone
with Carmilla!"  Rory

"Would someone tell Rory, I am in charge of
Irish Short Story Week,  I have no idea who even invited
him?"   -Carmilla-
Mel u

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

What a great way to celebrate this week: wonderful!