by Robert Strate
If I had to choose one thing that all humans have in common, it would be our desire to connect with others. One of my favorite quotes is by a famed and iconic violinist, the late Isaac Stern. He said, “Music happens between the notes’’ and this quote was later turned into “Trust happens between the meetings’’ by guru Simon Sinek. I have been pretty infatuated with the concept of human connection for a while now and I always appreciate it when it finds its way into any art medium. Ghost Species is heavily focused on interpersonal relationships and does a great job of showing not only why these connections are important, how easily they can happen, and especially how characters in the story benefit from them. A prime example of this is the character of Eve in her relationships.
Eve is different. This aspect of her life is reinforced time and time again throughout the entire novel. Surface level observations aside though, Eve may not be that different from every other ‘regular’ cast member. It was often the case for me while reading that I forgot Eve was supposed to be the odd one out and it was not until I was reminded of her differences again that the thought re-entered my brain. A way in which Eve is made to feel more like every other human in the story is her desire for connection, which to me sits at the very core of her character. This desire is shown extremely well through her relationships with other members of the cast, mainly her friends Sami and Lukas. Her interactions with them are very human, very real. Eve is not against going to the party with Sami and Lukas despite being aware of how different she is, likely because she has fond memories of playing together with Sami as a child. She remembers and realizes how good it feels to share a moment with others, even at a fairly young age. It is here that she gets to know Lukas a bit better, who is of great help to her further into the novel when Eve fails to acquire the necessary medication for her mother. Towards the end of the novel, she chooses to stay with Lukas and accompanies him to the compound instead of staying on her own. Things do end up getting ugly, but Eve learns valuable lessons in trust from Sami’s betrayal and the importance of fighting for those dear to you when Drako threatens to kill Lukas. All these personal developments have those seemingly trivial playdates with Sami at their core. Such is the effect and power of connection. It might very well be because of these memories that she eventually takes the risks that come with venturing out into the desolate ruins of the world, searching for others like her in the hope of connecting with someone.
To me, Eve as a character and her being a Neanderthal symbolizes how the need for connection has always fueled humankind, but more importantly how essential it is for humans. Something as random as Kate and Yasemin’s encounter led to Eve, who had all the odds stacked against her, shaping her own future. I am certain that no one really wants to be alone, and it is precisely this desire that gives us the strength to move forward, exactly how it did for Eve.