Original date of publication: 1956
My edition: 2007 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read: browsing the Persephone catalogue
How I acquired my copy: Persephone subscription, June 2010
As I was browsing my TBR shelves for something to take with me on a business trip (traveling theme and all of that), my eye (no pun intended) was drawn to Every Eye, a slim novella about a woman who marries a much younger man and takes a holiday to Ibiza.
The novel isn’t so much about the holiday as it is about the journey, and it’s a novel that is “based on the premise that life is lived forwards but understood backwards” (from the preface written by Isobel English’s husband, Neville Braybrooke). There are many flashbacks to Hatty’s affair with a much older man, and her relationship with her step-aunt that illuminate certain things about Hatty. There’s not much action per se in this book, but there are some absolutely gorgeous descriptions of the scenery as Hatty and Stephen travel along that make me want to book a flight to Ibiza right now!
I am generally not a novella reader; I prefer thick, juicy novels with lots of plot and character development. But this book, for all its shortness, packs a lot into it. You can see Hatty’s development as a person quite clearly, from her unsuitable liaison with an older man to her wiser marriage to Stephen. The novel illustrates to perfection the modern saying that hindsight is 20/20. The tone of the book is very cold, and I thought going into it that I would hate the narrator for being so detached; but the juxtaposition between Hatty’s coldness and the warmth of Ibiza really works for this story.
This is Persephone no. 18. Endpaper above.