Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 559
Eve, the central character of “Save the Reaper,” has rented a house near a Lake Huron, Ontario, beach, which she had known as a child, in order to entice her married daughter Sophie and her children, Philip and Daisy, to visit. Eve has not seen the family in five years,...
(The entire section contains 559 words.)
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Eve, the central character of “Save the Reaper,” has rented a house near a Lake Huron, Ontario, beach, which she had known as a child, in order to entice her married daughter Sophie and her children, Philip and Daisy, to visit. Eve has not seen the family in five years, for they live in California. Her daughter and the children arrive first. When Sophie goes to meet her husband’s plane in Toronto, Eve takes her grandchildren Philip and Daisy for a drive to a nearby village to get ice cream.
Along the way, they play a tiresome game that involves imagining space aliens in other vehicles. When a truck they are trailing turns into a lane, Philip wants to follow it, but Eve decides to drive on. However, before she can do so, she sees the lane’s gateposts: unusual constructions of whitewashed pebbles and colored glass. Eve suddenly remembers that once, when traveling with her mother in this area, she had seen a similar wall on which fascinating pictures were made of colored glass.
Eve turns into the lane, which is lined by large drooping pines, and follows the truck. She comes on a derelict barn surrounded by rusting machinery and a dilapidated house. The sight is mildly frightening. She would like to escape, but the truck is parked in such a way that she cannot turn around. She gets out of her car and asks the driver of the truck about the wall with colored glass. He persuades her to go into the house to meet someone named Harold, who may know something about the wall. She and the children go into the house.
The house is incredibly filthy, smelly, and messy. Four men are playing cards at a table and drinking whiskey; one of them, who is naked, is Harold. The truck driver asks Harold about the wall but gets only evasive answers. Eve now is frightened. Though she fears that she and the children will not be allowed to leave, she finds the door is unlocked and then that the truck driver has moved his truck. They escape down the long lane, but not before Eve catches a glimpse of a fragment of a whitewashed wall in which bits of glass are imbedded. She was right in remembering it from her childhood.
As she drives slowly along the lane, the youngest of the men from the card game opens the car door and jumps into the empty front seat. The man turns out to be a girl, a prostitute who wants to escape from a party that had turned too rough. The girl tells Eve that she left without being paid and asks Eve for money. Eve refuses. Then the girl makes a pass at Eve, and Eve feels a pang of desire. When she lets the girl out to hitch another ride, Eve gives her twenty dollars and impulsively tells her where she lives—in case the girl does not get a ride.
At home, Ian and Sophie are there. Eve tells them a censored version of the day’s outing, and the family seems more harmonious than ever before. Eve knows her daughter, husband, and children will leave the next day. She wonders if the girl will come to see her after that and wonders what dangers will accompany such a visit.