Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
A Novel

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In a small town in Canada, Clara Callan reluctantly takes leave of her sister, Nora, who is bound for New York. It's a time when the growing threat of fascism in Europe is a constant worry, and people escape from reality through radio and the movies. Meanwhile, the two sisters -- vastly different in personality, yet inextricably linked by a shared past -- try to find their places within the complex web of social expectations for young women in the 1930s.

While Nora embarks on a glamorous career as a radio-soap opera star, Clara, a strong and independent-minded woman, struggles to observe the traditional boundaries of a small and tight-knit community without relinquishing her dreams of love, freedom, and adventure. However, things aren't as simple as they appear -- Nora's letters eventually reveal life in the big city is less exotic than it seems, and the tranquil solitude of Clara's life is shattered by a series of unforeseeable events. These twists of fate require all of Clara's courage and strength, and finally put the seemingly unbreakable bond between the sisters to the test.


About Richard B. Wright

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Canadian writer, Richard B. Wright is the author of several novels. His titles include The Age of Longing, In the Middle of Life and Clara Callan. Clara Callan won both the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the Giller Award in 2001. He resides in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 432 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Self Help. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Clara Callan

Kirkus Reviews

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It’s as if the “progress” of the century ironically mocks that of Clara, who makes hesitant forays away from her stifling matrix—daring a brief trip abroad with the now-sophisticated Nora, enduring a frustrating not-quite-love affair with her “man” in Toronto, self-absorbed Frank Quinlan (a devas...

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The Guardian

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Clara Callan by Richard B Wright 432pp, Flamingo, £16.99 "It happened while the rest of us went about our lives.

Oct 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Clara Callan: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Nora and the lesbian writer of her soap opera, Evelyn Dowling, are Clara's main correspondents, but the news she relates in her letters (such as "grippe and calloused hands"—although she also shows concern for the world's more serious injustices) contrasts with the darker events recorded in her j...

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BC Books

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When Clara writes to her sister, she is different than when she writes to their mutual friend, Evelyn, and different again from when she writes in her journal.

Feb 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Clara Callan: A Novel

The Sunday Times

In Clara Callan, Richard B Wright has entered the body and soul of a wistful, thirtyish spinster living in an isolated Canadian village as convincingly as Carol Shields and Alice Munro — writers who, until now, more or less owned the copyright on the fictional lives of Canadian girls and women fl...

Nov 17 2002 | Read Full Review of Clara Callan: A Novel

We follow Clara's rebellion against convential views of spinsterhood, Nora's entanglements with married men, and Clara's romantic attraction.

Jun 14 2005 | Read Full Review of Clara Callan: A Novel

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