Kristina's Reviews > Clara Callan

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
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's review
Jan 08, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2010

Clara Callan is a good and immensely pleasing read. I liked that the narrative took place through letters and diary entries. Often that can be tricky and come across as gimmicky but Wright does a wonderful job with it. He also deserves praise for writing about women in the 1930s.

Clara, Nora and Evelyn are fiercely strong and loyal to one another. I liked that there was little or no drama between the sisters. Nora did not leave to try her hand in New York because she hated her sister. Clara did not resent Nora for pursuing her dreams, even if, at times, she did not understand all the why's.

Clara is ordinary. She is not unlike any of us and when reading her letters I could identify with what it must have been like in the 1930s - to do and be involved in the things she does.


The only reason I did not give the novel 5 stars is this - the Afterword. I absolutely hated it. It was the only part of the novel that disappointed me. I so wished it was written by Clara or Nora some years later. I felt that the Afterword may exist solely to make us question our reason for liking Clara (or disliking her). The afterword did not capture what came before it. I was let down with by its narrator, Clara's daughter and her overall tone. I have no doubt that is exactly how many children of depression era, small town Canadian children saw their parents but it didn't, to me, fit. There were a few things I didn't really, buy, so to speak in the Afterword either. I didn't really believe that Clara never again wrote in a diary or journal. Nor that there was no further correspondence that she had found between her mother and aunt. That, Clara, someone who eschewed much of modern conveniences just gave up writing to her sister or in a diary.

Either way, that part of the novel .. if reading it again or recommending it to another .. I would just skip. The novel, as it is, did not need the Afterword.

Read Clara Callan for Clara and Nora. The story is about women of a certain time and age that we can still learn from today.

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Reading Progress

01/02/2010 page 324

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