Author: Therese Bohman
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Other Press
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 208 pages
Available:10 April 2018
“She had constantly felt as if she were trying to con everyone, to bluff her way to a title, as if she would inevitably be exposed, sooner or later.”
Karolina Andersson is a newly-single 40-something art professor at the University of Stockholm. Much of her identity goes against the societal norm: she’s comfortable being single, fights against the bottled ideas her co-workers continue to teach, and believes in a higher power–even if that power is the art she loves to study.
We see academia, not as something to be revered, but for the reality of what it is: just another job. Through Karolina, we see whatever elitism civilians might believe exists in academia is stripped away. To this extent, feminism, too, is questioned: its definition, its place in academia, and the way feminism (or any ism) is understood by Karolina’s male co-workers and students.
“She never really felt at home here, but she had never really been unhappy either. Much the same could be said of her life as a whole.”
It’s not just a study of academia we see through Karolina’s eyes, however. Relationships play a major aspect in Eventide. Karolina’s relationship with her parents, her past (a fling with a friend from her hometown), the future (through her relationship with her PhD advisee), and the double standards by women are held to. In work and outside of it, Karolina encounters men who are her age or older, single and in relationships, being given chances to have everything in life they could ever want.
“Falling in love with Robban would be hard, maybe even impossible, but people had done worse things in order to achieve that nuclear family, she was sure of it.”
Eventide is not an easy read if only because of how Bohman makes the reader question their own views on society, societal pressures, and feminism’s effect on these. Karolina is pre-occupied with breaking the traditional mold while still trying to navigate pressures programmed into her by biology. Children, preserving apperances–these are things that women are programmed to want either by their own body or from the way they’re brought up. No matter what, every day–every choice–is a battle to make normal what isn’t.
Thought-provoking and entertaining, Eventide is not your average summer read. Like its heroine, it stands out among its peers not only for its beauty, but for the way it challenges the status quo in literary fiction.