cover image Evening


Nessa Rapoport. Counterpoint, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64009-408-6

Rapoport’s smart, darkly funny novel (after the memoir House on the River) considers the travails of a Jewish family in contemporary Canada. Eve, 35, returns from New York City to her native Toronto for the funeral of her older sister, Tam, and to sit shiva. Hardworking, straight-arrow Tam was a famous TV news anchor, married with children; unmarried Eve, the rebellious bohemian, teaches adult education classes. Tam sneered at Eve’s lack of accomplishment, particularly in domestic life, and Eve remains tortured by guilt and rage over their final, unresolved fight in the hospital, which occurred shortly before Tam’s death from breast cancer. When Eve receives a card Tam had left for her that contains a cryptic note asking for Eve’s forgiveness, Eve’s attempt to decode the rest of Tam’s note (“The last time we were together, he said, ‘I want to breathe you into me’ ”) brings up memories of serene summers at the family’s house on Lake Ontario. Eve then cheats on her boyfriend with her high school boyfriend, Laurie, and as Eve learns details of her family history, she grasps the meaning of Tam’s confession. Rapoport’s prose crackles with wit (“the past is making guerrilla incursions into my life”) and erotic heat, as Eve remembers her first sexual experiences with Laurie. Suffused with deep feeling, Rapoport’s narrative boldly faces the darkness that can fuel sisterly rivalry. (Sept.)