Summary (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
Eva Trout is divided into two sections, the first taking place when Eva has not yet inherited the fortune she can expect on her twenty-fifth birthday. Largely ignored by her father and his homosexual lover after her mother has deserted the family, Eva is still mentally a child at twenty-four. Her father’s suicide has left her rich but unable to find any direction in her life. Unable to define what she wants, having little formal education and a very weak understanding of other people, Eva is susceptible to the control of her guardian, Constantine Ormeau, and her former teacher, Iseult Arble.
Both regard Eva as a problem. Constantine feels obligated to look after Eva because of his long relationship with her father and the implied reason for her father’s suicide: Constantine’s infidelity. He despises women and views Eva as an unhappy result of a tragic marriage. Iseult, on the other hand, finds Eva a disconcerting reminder of a more meaningful past. Formerly an inspiring teacher, Iseult is now married to an anti-intellectual who has failed to become the self-employed man he and Iseult dreamed he could be. Eva’s lifelong position at the heart of other people’s mistaken relationships confuses and angers her and results in her rebellion against Constantine and Iseult.
Enlisting the aid of Henry Dancey, a boy of twelve, Eva flees to the south of England to buy a house and wait for her inheritance in solitude. She is happy, rambling...
(The entire section is 843 words.)
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