Monday, May 7, 2018

Book Review: Eventide by Therese Bohman

First line: The subway car was packed and she had to stand from Slussen to Ɩstermalmstorg, crammed between people who all seemed to be sweating.

I didn't think I'd so enjoy a book that details the angst of being 40ish and uneasy about one's life. But Bohman's slender novel and her cerebral, melancholy heroine Karolina, are touching, familiar, and wryly funny.

This is a familiar story, but still feels fresh and vibrant. Karolina is 40-ish and newly separated, a decision that she agonizes over. Living alone, she relishes the freedom even as she doubts her own decisions. When her charming graduate student's research reveals an exciting, forgotten female artist, there is the promise of something more.

Bohman's narrative style, as translated by Marlaine Delargy, is both grounded and ethereal: we experience Karolina's grimy commutes through the city as well as float with her during her lofty, meandering ruminations. It's a think-y kind of novel that doesn't waste page space on long-winded meditations; instead, Bohman -- and Karolina -- are trying to ascertain if this moment in her life is fulfilling or not. It's a poignant question I often ask myself, and I found myself empathizing with Karolina throughout this book. Our lives are different, but the questions are the same.

What had actually made her happy about the life she had made for herself? Self-realization might seem desirable in comparison to its opposite, but as the only alternative it wasn't especially attractive. Suddenly it seemed as if the nameplate on her door was mocking her, that "Karolina Andersson, Professor of Art" was nothing more than a sad indictment. That was her life, summarized in just a few words. A life should contain more than there is space for on a nameplate.

Title: Eventide
Author: Therese Bohman
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Sweden / Translation / Academia / Art / Research / Relationships / Single Life / Aging)
Publisher/Publication Date: Other Press (4/10/2018)
Source: The publisher


  1. This sounds like a book a lot of people can relate to.

  2. You know what's scary? I was like, oh yes, I can relate to the 40ish dilemma but then reminded myself that 50 hits this September for me. OMG!