A double prize-winning novel of great style and charm.
Underneath the seemingly ordinary lives of Wright's characters are entire worlds of emotion that, once entered, become wildly unpredictable. `Clara Callan' has that capacity to surprise, to draw the reader below the smooth surface of convention into a world of passion, where secrets percolate and sudden, unexpected violence erupts.
`Clara Callan' is set in the middle of the Great Depression, chronicling the lives of two sisters. Clara is a spinsterish school teacher whose quiet life in a small Ontario town masks a passion for love and adventure. Nora, her flighty and very pretty sister, travels to New York where she lands a starring role in a radio soap opera.
Written in diary and letter form, the novel brilliantly reveals the sisters' stories, as their lives become increasingly complex. Rarely has a male writer captured so well the inner life of female characters. And with Wright's extraordinary eye for small but telling details, the world of the thirties comes vividly to life, an era when show business was in its infancy, and the Dionnes grabbed the headlines, when Automats were a futuristic way of buying fast food and the Women's Auxiliary still ruled the social roost in small towns everywhere. Above all, Wright's portrait draws a world of young women - pre-divorce, pre-pill, pre-liberation, where judgment weighed heavily upon anyone who defied convention.
`Clara Callan' is so elegantly and seamlessly constructed that the reader enters it effortlessly and does not depart willingly. Readers and reviewers will agree: `Clara Callan' shows a writer at the top of his form.
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