Melanie's Reviews > Spilling Clarence

Spilling Clarence by Anne Ursu
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's review
Sep 10, 2009

really liked it

I picked up this one on a bit of a whim: nice cover, it's about memory, writing seems ok... and I am glad I did! The premise is that the town of Clarence, a quiet, peaceful place that depends on the local college and the local pharmaceutical plant for employment, suffers a chemical spill. The airborne chemical is deletrium, which has the capability of unlocking all the parts of the brain which hold memory. It acts randomly, causing differing reactions;we get to know each of the characters through the specific memories which arise.

This theme has the potential to become heavy handed and depressing, but Ursu writes with humour and with a polished style that is compassionate yet distanced, not becoming maudlin. I loved the idea of the story, and was delighted by the writing. Formal yet playful, it allowed for digressions on ideas of memory and the uses of forgetting, without losing the narrative thread.Setting, characters, theme, language -- I enjoyed them all. It's a great first novel.

(full review at The Indextrious Reader)

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