Tamye's Reviews > Clara Callan

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
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's review
Aug 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: canadian-author, fiction-adult, giller-prize-winner, governor-general-s-award-winner, trillium-book-award-winner, cba-libris-award-winner, historical-fiction
Read from August 11 to September 29, 2011

Fans of Can-lit, award-winning books and historical fiction, if you haven’t yet read Clara Callan, do not hesitate to pick this book up. If you have read it, pick it up again. It’s that good.

I read this book a long time ago, when it first came out and decided to re-read it because I recently made it a Staff Pick at Chapters, where I work. I'm so glad I did. This multiple literary award winner did not disappoint.

Richard B. Wright’s celebrated novel is the powerful and moving story of two small-town sisters, Clara and Nora, and their life-changing experiences on the eve of the Second World War. Clara Callan is a masterpiece of fiction that won the 2001 Giller Prize, Governor General’s Award and Trillium Award.

Written in diary and letter form, this book brilliantly tells the sister’s stories; Clara is a spinsterish school teacher who lives a quiet life in a small town in Ontario and Nora escapes the small town life for the glamorous world of show business in New York City, landing a role in a radio soap opera. Underneath their seemingly ordinary lives, the sisters struggle with seldom talked about social issues like abortion, affairs with married men and single motherhood.

I really liked this book because you get a true sense of the characters and the historical events of the 1930’s told through their correspondence and Clara’s diary entries. Though very different in their personalities, Clara and Nora are linked by their shared past and the complex social expectations of that era. You often forget that the author is actually male.

I highly recommend this masterpiece of Canadian fiction. You will be instantly drawn into Clara and Nora’s world and will not forget them.

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Reading Progress

08/28/2011 page 20
09/07/2011 page 168
38.0% "I'm really enjoying revisiting this multiple award winning Canadian novel."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jackleen I also read this book when it came out. It is one of my favorite books and you are right, it is well worth a second read.

Catherine Johnson Thanks for the recommendation!

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