someday ill be in company of all....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Title:Clara Callan
Author:Richard B. Wright
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Price: Rs 878
Page: 415
Genre: Historic fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Borrowed

Buy Clara Callan from
Buy Clara Callan from

Two sisters, small-town Ontario, 1934. Canadian author Richard Wright tells their story, from the ordinary to the extraordinary, with an eye for the commonplace and poignant sense of the larger undercurrents that change people's lives

The book cover itself explains a lot about the character of the two ladies involved...The novel is about two sisters Clara and Nora....Nora is beautiful, vivacious and ambitious, her ambition takes her to New york,  becoming a radio opera star, while Clara  stays back with her school teaching job and in a world that is closed with its own limitation, yet Clara is strong, determined who has her own mind and a deep current to stand by any difficult times life might come..

The story unfolds after the death of the sisters death in 1935..The book is a mix of journal entries of Callan and the letters between the sisters..Clara's letter paints a wonderful landscape of Whitfield, Ontario, her love for the hometown comes out beautifully through her poetic verses, even through the dust and dirt of the road she brings out an amazing aura of it...While painting the glitz and glamor of showbiz and New York city Nora pens down the darker side of the city and the profession .... Clara remains single, Nora indulges in relationship with married men...Clara finds purpose of life in solitude, while Nora in adventure and risks... Clara has a flare for philosophy, while Nora is peppy and vibrant....Brought up by their father after their mother's death, the sisters have their share of melancholy lingering around., with their father been taken away from them both choose their way of life...I liked the way Wright had painted the spirit of small town through Clara's aspirations being pulled down... She is raped with a subsequent pregnancy , she has to face it all alone and to cope up with the limited options her society renders her...Hence, her obvious choice to go to New York to her sister for an abortion...Time and again Wright brings out character who is a lesbian but spends her life in loneliness, somehow highlighting the society's vantage back then....The book has to be enjoyed in the  moments it brings to you..Do not sit expecting some high powered drama o hit you,then would bring utter disappointment..

The novel not only explores the two characters , it also observes the changes the times bring in and the reaction of common man...Change like the transition  from theater to  radio, letters to telegram...The characters are developed right from the beginning hence Wright couldn't provide any space for their further growth, had there been a choice wouldn't this been even better??

Wright has convincingly stepped into the shoes of female characters  pulling the emotional strings quite convincingly....If you love to read on sisterhood, friendship with low profile twists that has a high impact well this book is definitely for you...

Book 1

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good.

    Very often the question is raised if a male writer can effectively and realistically write about female characters. It sounds as if Wright has done a good job here.

    I have been thinking about this lately as I have recently read a couple of books by DH Lawrence. These books also portray female characters in rich and complex ways.


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