Publication Date: Apr 10, 2018
List Price US $15.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5.5 x 8.25
List Price US $8.99
An astute novel following the life of an art professor at Stockholm University as she navigates the academic world, with its undercurrents of sexuality, competition, deceit, and fear
In her forties and childless, Karolina Andersson feels adrift living alone after the breakup of a long relationship. She finds fulfillment in her work, and when she starts advising a new postgraduate student, she is struck by his confidence. He claims to have discovered new materials from a female artist working around the turn of the century that would change the historiography of Swedish visual arts. Karolina soon finds herself embroiled in a game with unexpected complexities, both emotional and professional.
Eventide is a perceptive novel of ideas about love, art, and solitude in our time, and the distorted standards to which women are held in their relationships and their careers.
Excerpt from Eventide
She had only just sat down in her own room when there was a theatrical knock on the door. A young man looked in; he was wearing a shirt in a dull beige that made it look like some kind of uniform, and for a moment she thought he was a courier delivering a book she had forgotten she’d ordered. Then she realized that this was Anton Strömberg, the PhD student she had never met. He looked carefree and totally confident, exactly like a person who writes carefree, confident emails. He moved as if this were his room, in spite of the fact that he had taken no more than a couple of steps through the door. He smiled at her.
“Hi Karolina—Anton Strömberg.”
She stood up to shake hands. He was very good-looking: tall, and with a careless ease about his body that was a little provocative.
“I just thought I’d call in and say hi while I’m around,” he went on. “Did you get my message?”
“I did, yes. Yes.”
“You didn’t reply.”
His tone was friendly, but with an underlying challenge.
“I was just about to.”
That was a lie, and for some reason she thought he could tell.
“So what do you think? About Ebba Ellis?”
“She seems very interesting. I must confess that I’d hardly heard of her until now, but provided you can find enough material to work from, I’m sure it will be fine.”
“I’ve got fantastic material.”
“Really? Tell me more.”
“For a start,” he said, sitting down on the visitor’s chair without waiting for an invitation, “hardly anyone has written about Ebba Ellis. In modern times there’s nothing at all; she seems to have been completely forgotten.”
“There are plenty of artists in that position; in most cases it’s because they weren’t very good.”
“Eventide is full of damn fine writing, but it’s the novel’s irreverent attitude toward feminism that makes it as challenging as it is necessary to read.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Bohman…is an adroit novelist with deep insights into the mind and heart of Karolina, a complex character whose restlessness, irresolution, and search for meaning make every one of her actions, both hesitancies and uncertainties, plausible and psychologically rich. Intelligent, impassioned, and compelling, [Eventide] explores complex inner worlds with great sensitivity and insight.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Bohman’s prose is clear-eyed and arresting…With literary flare and levelheaded pacing, Eventide provides a glimpse into the unsettling nuances of academic gender politics and the restless, unbounded nature of female aging and agency.” —Shelf Awareness
“Eventide is a spare, utterly satisfying tale of male frailty and one woman’s delicate act of revenge. Therese Bohman is a mesmerizing talent; she writes with wit, honesty, and devastating poise.” —Lucy Ives, author of Impossible Views of the World
“Therese Bohman’s arresting novel explores contemporary mores with crystalline reflections on art and culture, passion and its absence…An intelligent, uncompromising story.” —Sylvia Brownrigg, author of Pages for Her
“Both incisive and tender, Therese Bohman’s elegant Eventide leaves no stone unturned in the heart of her protagonist…Reading it was like having an intimate conversation with a brilliant woman in a deceptively still and quiet room.” —Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lions
Eventide Reading Group Guide
- Karolina observes that “It is twilight in Nietzsche’s work, twilight in Baudelaire, twilight in the work of everyone with whom she felt an affinity” (p 126). Why do you think the novel is called Eventide? Which moments in the novel take place at twilight, and how does Karolina feel during those moments?
- The epigraph of the novel contains two quotes, one from Dante and one from Swedish musician Jonathan Johansson.
Midway in the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
I think God is German
There is a grace in everything that is organized
In what ways does Karolina feel lost in Eventide? How does she feel about order and orderliness?
- What most defines Karolina: her job, her desires, or her singledom? Does she enjoy her work? Does she enjoy being single?
- How does Karolina feel about feminism? Do you think she’s a feminist? Do you think Lennart Olsson is a feminist?
- Why did Karolina break up with her partner, Karl Johan? What does she believe constitutes a good relationship?
- Karolina “wanted someone who wanted her. Someone who liked her enough to think about a future together” (p131). What else does Karolina want? Is she a conventional woman, with stereotypical feminine desires? Her dissertation was titled, “Seduction and Destruction. The Dangerous Woman in Swedish Art at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” Is Karolina a “dangerous woman”?
- Karolina is “particularly fascinated by Mannerism, the final phase of the Italian Renaissance” (p 15) and believes that “most ideologies seemed to be in their Mannerist phase” (p 16). Is she going through a Mannerist phase in her adulthood?
- How does Karolina feel about “the cultural heritage of the West” (p 72) and Western civilization? She tells Hans Jerup “I like the old world” (p 85). Is this something she feels comfortable sharing openly? Why do you think so?
- What does Karolina think makes a work of art “genuinely good” (p 143)? What do you think makes art great?
- What characteristic allows Karolina to discover Anton’s lie? What do you make of her solution to the situation?
- Karolina spends much of the novel imagining the lives of historical figures and of the people in her milieu. What role does imagination play in her life? Who in the novel, contemporary or historical, does she identify with most?