Eva Trout, Elizabeth Bowen's last novel, epitomizes her bold exploration of the territory between the comedy of manners and cutting social commentary.
Orphaned at a young age, Eva has found a home of sorts in Worcestershire with her former schoolteacher, Iseult Arbles, and Iseult's husband, Eric. From a safe distance in London, her legal guardian, Constantine, assumes that all's well. But Eva's flighty, romantic nature hasn't entirely clicked with the Arbles household, and Eva is plotting to escape. When she sets out to hock her Jaguar and disappear without a trace, she unwittingly leaves a paper trail for her various custodians and all kinds of trouble to follow.
About the Author
Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), an Anglo-Irish novelist, essayist, and short story writer, was born in Dublin. Her family spent winters in Dublin and summers in Bowen s Court, their ancestral home in County Cork. At the age of seven Bowen moved to England, where she married Alan Cameron in 1923. The couple divided their time between London, where Cameron held a position at the BBC, and Bowen s Court. Bowen s first book, "Encounters" (1923), was followed by several further collections of short stories and nine novels, including "The Hotel" (1927), "The Last September" (1929), "Friends and Relations" (1931), "To the North" (1932), "The Death of the Heart" (1938), and "The Heat of the Day" (1949), a tale of espionage set in London during World War II. An ardent supporter of the British war effort, Bowen volunteered her services to the British Ministry of Information during World War II, and was commissioned as an undercover agent to investigate whether the Irish public was wavering in its support for Irish neutrality. Elizabeth Bowen was awarded the CBE in 1948 and made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1965. Her last novel, "Eva Trout "(1968), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
"Bowen is magnificent when she writes about conspiracy, duplicity and ambiguity, and her achievement . . . is extremely impressive." –Margaret Drabble
"[Elizabeth Bowen] is what happened after Bloomsbury . . . the link that connects Virginia Woolf with Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark." –Victoria Glendinning
"It is as though Henry James has been superimposed upon Jane Austen." –Walter Allen, The Modern Novel