As a lot as we like our families, they have a tendency to complicate things. Nessa Rapoport’s new novel unearths aimless, passionate 30-something Eve grappling with the tragic death of her dual sister, Tam. Exploring the layers of dysfunction found in all families, Evening spins a complicated web of loving, twisted relationships in which the binds that bind are weakening and there's no center.
Upon returning home to Toronto to mourn the own family’s loss, Eve is hit with that all-too-acquainted feeling—a mix of nostalgia and dread, like the past is coming lower back as much as hit her inside the face. While the circle of relatives sits shiva in their domestic, grieving the loss of Tam, Eve struggles together with her relationships. Now that her sister is gone, she is eventually forced to revisit her early life. Even in death, Tam is a major part of Eve’s existence, and as the novel unfolds, we find out the intertwined nature in their relationship. Tam acts as an antithesis to Eve; whilst Tam found achievement and love, Eve struggled with those ambitions.
By the second day of shiva, it becomes obvious that Eve and Tam’s adolescence was not as it seemed. Eve and her own family are compelled to confront their history as they teeter on the edge of complete decompensation.
This is Rapoport’s second novel, and she has formerly explored womanhood, grief and Jewish lifestyles in America and Canada, all of which spin together in Evening. She limns the emotion of each action, slicing instantly to the heart. Eve’s internal existence is on full display, however the novel’s actual drama and magic comes from Eve’s relationships with others. How can we genuinely recognize and love someone when we are so stuck in our own lives? Though Rapoport does no longer get quite so philosophical, the strength of Evening is that she forces you to do this wondering yourself.