The Book of Eve, Constance Beresford-Howe

One of my book clubs read Constance Beresford-Howe’s A Serious Widow. And after I discovered The Book of Eve (1973), on loan to me, on a neglected shelf amidst yet to be read poetry collections, I read it in almost one-sitting.

Not the only writer to tackle a wife/mother/slave to her time and place in the world who abandons her life (e.g., Anne Tyler, Ethel Wilson), this slim novel is a keeper. At times in some ways reminiscent of A Serious Widow, the writer captures the stages in this leave-taking unflinchingly—the discovery of self, the loss of self, degradation, second-thoughts, and ultimately acceptance of self and embracing life choices made. Beresfor-Howe’s writing is  writes honest, perceptive, touching, true to her subject 100%. And all this in the context of Montreal’s East End and downtown, where the city so familiar to me becomes a character in the story in its own right.

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