One woman’s feminist awakening leads a village to ruin.
Nearly 70 years after it was published, Somers’ haunting and timeless novella has been translated into English for the first time. Somers, a Uruguayan feminist who died in 1994, recounts one woman’s transgressive journey toward autonomy. On her 30th birthday, a bored Rebeca Linke finds herself longing for a remarkable thing that has yet to (and may never) happen. Under cover of darkness, she travels to her country cottage, withdraws from the world, and casts away all societal responsibilities. Beneath the moonlight, in a dreamlike state, Linke decapitates herself—symbolically, of course—and re-enters the world naked and free. Slipping into bedrooms and appearing in fields, her ghostly, erotic presence—now calling herself Eve—quickly drives the village insane. Sick with sexual desire and lost in their misogyny, the men simultaneously dream of her and dream of killing her. It’s not only the men who fear what Eve will do to their orderly yet fragile existences; the women resent her nudity and wonder if she’ll undo the normalcy they enjoy. Somers’ similes are as gorgeous as they are effective: “But now the man’s desire had swelled like a river after the rainy season” and “he hacked away at her as if she were a tree trunk.” Imbued with magical realism, mysticism, and biblical themes, Somers’ novella poses questions still relevant today: “Had she, a naked, destitute woman, really caused all this madness? Or was she was being used as an excuse for something already lurking inside of them?” The larger truth is as naked as the woman haunting the countryside.
A lusciously brutal resurrected classic.