Read Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright Free Online
Book Title: Clara Callan|
Date of issue: July 22nd 2014
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Richard B. Wright
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.94 MB
Read full description of the books Clara Callan:One of the best Canadian novels of the millennium (so far!)
When it was published in 2001, Clara Callan swept Canada’s book awards, including the Governor General’s Award and the Giller Prize (a feat I don’t think has been duplicated). No wonder. This novel is that rare thing: a literary page-turner.
It tells the story of two Canadian sisters living vastly different lives in the mid-1930s: the eponymous, 30-something Clara is a schoolteacher in a small Ontario town (about two hours from Toronto), and, as the book begins, younger sister Nora heads down to New York City to enter the exciting new world of radio acting.
The book consists of letters – mostly between the two siblings – as well as Clara’s diary entries. Clara, living alone now that her school principal father has died, has a poet’s eye, and her observations about life – her reading, her attempts at poetry, her unmarried state (she calls herself a “spinster”), the gossiping neighbours, the stern new minister, her students – are astute; Nora, despite her glamorous environs, is much more conventional, but also hard-working, kind-hearted and devout.
As Nora climbs her way up the industry, starting with ads and minor voice roles until finally landing a lead in a day-time radio soap opera, Clara’s life remains relatively uneventful – with one exception. A single event affects the rest of her life.
There’s a strong sense of place, from the claustrophobia of small-town life (all those neighbours peeking through curtains, listening in on party line phone conversations) to the chilly anonymity of urban life. We get the sisters’ comments on events, from things like the Dionne quintuplets and the movies of the day to more profound shifts, like the lingering Depression and the lead-up to World War 2. The unrest in Europe comes into sharp focus when Nora and Clara visit Italy and two events – one brutally violent, the other quite lovely and inspiring – stick out.
And there are some vivid, memorable characters, including a feisty, lesbian scriptwriter named Evelyn Dowling, and a pompous, Edmund Wilson-type essayist whom Nora dates for a time. Clara meets a man, too, but I don’t want to say anything about him, because the way they meet – and the arc that relationship takes – needs to be discovered by you.
There’s no real plot, to speak of. The things that occur are things that happen in any town, big or small, or to any person, famous or not, but that often go unnoticed.
So, too, people like Clara Callan tend to go unnoticed. The unmarried schoolteacher.* Plays a bit of piano. So proper, so presentable. You think you know her. You don’t. But thanks to Wright and this beautifully written, humane and richly textured novel, now you can begin to imagine her depths.
*Canadian readers will also recognize Margaret Laurence’s Rachel Cameron (from A Jest Of God) in this archetype.
Read information about the authorRichard B. Wright is a Canadian novelist.
Born in Midland, Ontario, Wright attended Trent University, from which he graduated in 1970. He is the author of 13 published novels and two children's books. Many of his older novels were out of print, but were republished after his novel Clara Callan won three of Canada's major literary awards in 2001: the Giller Prize; the Trillium Book Award; and the Governor General's Award.
He currently lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Add a comment to Clara Callan
Read EBOOK Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright Online free