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Clara Callan | [Richard B. Wright]

Clara Callan

Two sisters, small-town Ontario, 1934. Canadian author Richard Wright tells their story, from the ordinary to the extraoridinary with an eye for the commonplace and poignant sense of the larger undercurrents that change people's lives.
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Publisher's Summary

Two sisters, small-town Ontario, 1934. Canadian author Richard Wright tells their story, from the ordinary to the extraordinary, with an eye for the commonplace and poignant sense of the larger undercurrents that change people's lives.

Letters and journal entries form a portal into the desires and passions of two very different women, underscoring the larger tableau of an era stirring with great events (the Depression, rumblings of another world war, and the infancy of radio and show business entertainment). Love and betrayal, friendship and family, hope and deception are the forces that temper the lives of Clara, the spinster schoolteacher, and her sister Nora, "whose entire life is a performance."

Wright, a master of revealing the drama of seemingly unremarkable lives, constructs a powerful, mesmerizing narrative. Clara Callan is a deeply moving portrait of two women and of an age heralding seismic changes that will alter the fabric of their inner lives and the world as they once knew it.

©2002 Richard B. Wright; (P) 2002 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

  • Giller Prize Winner, 2001

"Mr. Wright writes with the apparent ease of breathing, and he is both touching and very, very funny." (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (82 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
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1 star
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4.3 (7 )
5 star
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4.1 (9 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    L New York NY, United States 09-10-04
    L New York NY, United States 09-10-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    93
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    15
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    Overall
    "charming intimate refreshing"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It alternates between one woman's life and situation in rural canada and her sister's in New York City. I found the interplay of the landscapes and environments invigorating; it allowed one to experience both worlds through the stories of the women. I found the juxtaposition of the two sisters' attitudes and personalities refreshing and came to care very much about both characters and what happened to them. The auther gives a good believable feel for the texture of these women's inner and outer lives. Not a "feelgood" book, but entertaining, and one that leaves one wiser and touched. Highly recommended. I'd like to hear more by this author. Very good narrator.

    32 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 01-27-05
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 01-27-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    178
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "A Most Enjoyable Listen"

    I enjoyed this book very much, it was very touching and well told. The readers did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. I am not sure that it is a story that men would appreciate as much as women, but I would very confidently reccomend it to any of my women friends. The format of the book is quite effective.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha rapid city, SD, USA 03-20-05
    Martha rapid city, SD, USA 03-20-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    62
    28
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    "a fresh view of women in the 1930's"

    It seems in so many stories of women in the 1930's they are the downtrodden of the depression of America. This is a different view - for both Clara and her sister. Something new and different. I enjoyed the whole book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sameer Jamaica Plain, MA, United States 08-22-06
    Sameer Jamaica Plain, MA, United States 08-22-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Lacks a plot"

    The book is extraordinary detail surrounding a very basic and thin plot. It's very easy to follow -- almost numbingly easy. An abridged version of the short book would suffice.

    That being said, I still enjoyed the book and recommend it as a quick read or listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elsa welsa 06-30-05
    elsa welsa 06-30-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
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    Overall
    "Clara Callan"

    Not much of a story line. Somehow the ending did not do justice for the character of Clara. At the same time the novel is so beautifully written I was sad to hear it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurel Grover Beach, CA, USA 01-09-05
    Laurel Grover Beach, CA, USA 01-09-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "A good read"

    While it wasn't one of my all-time favorites, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shauna Pewaukee, WI, USA 12-05-04
    Shauna Pewaukee, WI, USA 12-05-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    5
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    1
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    Overall
    "like life"

    Clara's late-life awakening is a slice of on average life in the 1930's.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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