One thing that I thought would be interesting to look at after finishing Tenderwire is how Eva’s actions are affected by and a result of things that the reader does not know about until late in the story. We find out only at the end of Claire Kilroy’s Tenderwire that Eva has had a miscarriage prior to the start of events that take place. I really did not see this coming; I thought Eva was just a crazy lady who was losing it because of too much stress and pressure. I want to take a look at how our perspective and judgment of Eva’s character change, or don’t change, after learning this rather crucial fact. This general point was brought up in class and it really sparked a thought for me; I figured I would expand on this idea and look at it with more depth.

I know I read Eva’s actions in Tenderwire, especially the dangerous (often life-threatening) ones at the beginning with great skepticism. I could not make sense of why Eva was suddenly so sick and ailing to the extent where the reader had to question whether she would survive! Something that is even more intriguing is the question of why Kilroy would write her novel this way. There is always a reason to why an author puts or doesn’t put something in a text. With this in mind, I think a lot can be learned about Tenderwire, and I think we really see what Claire Kilroy wanted us to get out of this text. One could venture to say that all the events that take place in this story are meant to be second guessed and re-analyzed when the reader learns of this tragic miscarriage. It is simply astonishing to me how Eva is performing in a world class symphony in New York, is in the prime of her life, and has Krystof, a loving and caring boyfriend, but manages throws all of this away with such ease. So why in the world would Eva mix drugs and alcohol, go behind her boyfriends back with another man and not check in for any apparent reason, blow all her life’s work on a more than questionable violin deal with a dangerous and suspicious man, etc.? My view is that it all goes back to her loosing this child; she had such a great life, and I think it was absolutely shattered after this dreadful catastrophe. We know that Eva once had a stable relationship, and put in hard work and care to get her spot on the New Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra. So it is just that much more puzzling as to why she would be acting the way she is. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is unquestionable that Eva made more than a few bad decisions after this, and handled it in one of the worst ways possible. She hurt friends and family that truly loved and cared about her, risked her own life many times, and recklessly spent money that she did not truly work for. However, despite these things, I think it is important for the reader to go back and look at this entire story. I think that before any of us judge and look at Eva with uncertainty, we need to try and put ourselves in her shoes. This awful loss may not change your view on the story, but it sure made me give it another look.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. caseyrmcg
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 18:42:55

    I, too, was very judgmental of Eva and even Kilroy, who I thought was doing anti-feminist work. After completing the novel, however, and finding out key pieces of information, I love Tenderwire, and I think one of Kilroy’s main objectives in writing this book is to make the reader aware of how our pre-conceived ideas about women affect our readings of certain text. From the beginning of the book, I tried to hold Eva to certain standards and stereotypes–if she is a famous and successful violinist, why is she throwing her life away?; why is she drinking so much?; why is she so ungrateful? Finally, I realized that I was putting my own constructions on the woman that Eva should be, and those constructions were based on what I think a white, Irish woman who is a successful violinist in New York should be. It made me question why I was being so judgmental of a character that I really did not know anything about.

    Although your argument that Eva’s miscarriage was a deafening moment in her life and potentially was the cause of her bad decisions is a good one, I don’t think this was Kilroy’s intention. I think Kilroy used the miscarriage strategically in order for readers to re-examine the text and reflect on the harsh judgments they had passed on Eva in the beginning. I do not think that Eva or Kilroy perpetuated a focus on motherhood or the loss of motherhood at all.


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