Counterpoint. Sept. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781640094086. $26. f;.
Spanning the seven days of shiva (the Jewish mourning ritual), this new work from Rapoport (Preparing for Sabbath) opens in 1990 in Toronto before the funeral of Eve’s older sister Tam, a mother of two young children, an admired TV journalist, and a pillar of the community. Eve, 35, irritated by Canada’s tameness, has long ago fled to New York City, escaping familial pressures and what she sees as a stultifying, overly conventional existence. Always close to her sister despite their differences, Eve recalls a lifetime of trying to truly understand Tam, who seemed always to have known exactly what she wanted out of life. Eve, in contrast, has never settled down, endlessly researching a PhD dissertation about women explorers between the two world wars who were striving to escape their Victorian upbringings. As Eve withdraws from the family tragedy into a liaison with her first love, she is confronted with stark evidence that there was more to her “perfect” sister than was evident on the surface.
VERDICT Somber but hopeful, this work reveals truths about family dynamics, which are always messier and more complicated than unquestioned family lore.
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