Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen

Eva Trout

Elizabeth Bowen

Author I geb. 1899 (Ireland) t 1973 First edition l 1968 Publisher I A. Knopf (New York) Oorspr. language I English

Eva Trout is Bowen’s last and in some ways most difficult masterpiece. Like her earlier work, this novel has the brilliant humour and disturbing perspicacity of her descriptions of people and places, feelings and ideas, love and loss, but it goes to strange new depths. In a sense, it has the social ambience and language of bygone decades, but it is also one of the most remarkable and strangely representative works of the 1960s. Eva Trout tells the story of an improbably large young woman who inherits enough money to be able to do just about anything. Somehow in the U.S. she gets a deaf-mute child, Jeremy, and back in England she falls in love with Henry, a much younger student. In a surreal, fascinating ending, she is shot dead by Jeremy when she is about to travel for a fake wedding and honeymoon with Henry. Everything exudes a sense of anarchic possibilities, even Bowen’s sentence structure: it is often difficult to see where or how a sentence is going to end. There is a strong sense of confusion and a search for new channels of feeling and communication. Eva Trout gives bizarre, captivating and comical spyglasses about the idea that, as a character notes, “Life is an anti-nomance.