Women on the Scottish Coast, at the Whims of Male Violence: The New York Times raves about Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock

“If I were a woman I would give men a wide berth.”

A decent man says this in Evie Wyld’s wondrous and disturbing third novel, “The Bass Rock” — and with good reason. So many other men in the book are far less decent, and all too capable of closing even wide berths.

In one of the novel’s first scenes, a woman named Viviane is suddenly, aggressively approached in the parking lot of a grocery store by another woman, a stranger who’s treating her as an old friend. It’s late at night, and Viviane is made nervous by the woman’s energy. “Sorry, I’m not sure I know you,” Viviane tells her. “Yes,” the woman responds, keeping step beside her, “but pretend that you do, there’s a man hiding behind your car.”

In this small moment you find several of this book’s larger themes: a sense of impending violence; the base, shadowy havoc that is masculinity; the complications and saving graces of female companionship; cleverness in storytelling.

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