In her thirties, Eve is summoned home by her distraught family to mourn the premature death of her sister, Tam, a return that becomes an unexpected encounter with the past. As the family sits shiva, Eve bears the burden of a secret: Two weeks before Tam died, Eve and Tam argued so vehemently that they did not speak again.
Evening spins a complicated web of loving, twisted relationships in which the ties that bind are weakening and there is no center ... She limns the emotion of every action, cutting straight to the heart. Eve’s inner life is on full display, but the novel’s real drama and magic comes from Eve’s relationships with others.
Like a darker, sexier Little Women, it excavates a seemingly saccharine family dynamic to reveal the tangled knot of obligations and entitlements, admirations and resentments, that underpin the closest of sibling bonds ... Little Women is a compelling book because it shows how external conditions, namely economic powerlessness, make it difficult for women to live up to contemporary ideals of selfless sisterhood. Rapoport takes that argument a step further, suggesting that such ideals are fictions and that sisterhood at its core is a combative, even destructive bond ... It’s difficult to write about competitive sisters without dipping into stereotypes of women as essentially venal and self-serving, ugly step-sisters forever sabotaging each other. Rapoport accomplishes the task deftly by combining the languorous scenes of childhood with gladiatorial language that evinces Eve’s discomfort with her sister ... That oscillation between nostalgia and simmering conflict functions better in Rapoport’s lush evocations of Eve’s memories than in her dialogue, whose sentences are so snappy and polished it’s hard to believe that people uttered them over coffee and cake ... a denouement that’s a little too swift to credit.