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July 1, 2022 | Rome, Italy

Clara Callan

By | 2018-03-21T18:27:11+01:00 April 1st, 2004|Recent Reviews|

By Richard B. Wright

Perennial, 2002. 415 pages.

This is the story of two adult sisters in the 1930s from small-town Ontario (stick with me… geography has little to do with this tale): Nora who goes off to New York City to become a radio star and Clara who remains at home as the town’s school teacher. Their diverging lives are told through letters and diary entries.

In contrast to Nora, the vivacious, optimistic sister, Clara’s life appears drab — at first. Then Wright pulls us in deep, with devastating revelations and quiet, yet dramatic personal choices. I loved the simple, understated language of Clara Callan, and there’s a wonderful description of Rome in the 1930s (the sisters visit the city on vacation), which alone makes the book worth reading.

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