new Ann H., St. Paul, Love Transcendent
I enjoyed Clare, Loving immensely. Like some of Meier’s other books, including Time Stamp, this novel is a gentle unveiling of story that keeps perfect pace with the reader’s desire to understand its naissance and characters. A story in three novellas, it begins in the present with the protagonist, Clare, as new grandmother at crisis in a strained relationship with her adult daughter, particularly for never having provided her with a satisfactory explanation of her paternity and her father’s life and whereabouts. Desperately wanting to put the past behind her, Clare struggles with the distance her daughter, Sylvie, places on her mother’s role and presence. It isn’t until the second novella that the reader begins to understand the complexity of Clare’s love affair with Sylvie’s father, the nature of its origins that reach back to Clare’s Catholic childhood, and the repercussions it had on both of their lives. Finally, in the third novella, through the brilliantly revealed perspective of Clare, the child, we see the genesis of a part of Clare that would form her and set her course well into her adulthood. Themes of motherhood, faith, the Church, historical context and love, described masterfully among engaging characters, make Clare, Loving a compelling and beautiful read. The transcendent power of love in all of its forms – as mother, as love, as daughter – resonated powerfully for me. This book would be excellent for discussion.
Paulette Bates Alden, author of Crossing the Moon - Beautiful, Brilliant Work
The three novellas that compose CLARE, LOVING are wonderful individual pieces, but put together, they are magnificent!
“Sylvie” is absolutely dazzling, a stunning piece of work about a complicated mother daughter relationship. I read it without stopping, carried along by the structure and emotional process of Clare. I loved the musing, searching quality of memory and experience throughout. Line by line, the writing is full of small, subtle, pleasing observations, and the overall feel of the piece, the gestalt of it, is amazing.
“The Beautiful Ships” is one of the best things I’ve read. I was totally into it emotionally and tremendously moved by it. Anyone who has had a passionate affair of the heart will relate to it. Again, the writing is superb.
“The Nuns on the Roof of St. Peter” is another amazing piece, so subtle and complex, exploring a Catholic childhood and the resulting damage. So rich, painful and brilliantly written.
The three pieces work beautifully as a novel, giving us a full, profound exploration and expression of a real, complex, compelling woman.
Pam Greer - Loved Clare!
I love Emily Meier’s work because of the beautiful way she puts words together and because of her wonderful character development. Clare of Clare, Loving is my favorite of all of Emily Meier’s characters. In the first novella we meet her as a new grandmother; in the second she is a young woman in love; in the third she is a child going to Catholic school. I was surprised to read on emilymeier.com that Ms. Meier wrote the three novellas that comprise this book a long time apart because they flowed beautifully. Starting with Clare as an older woman and going backward in time in the other novellas was very effective and powerful in this book. I used to teach my second graders that good writers write about conflicts, which they resolve. Clare had fascinating conflicts, and as she resolved them, I began to feel that I knew her very well, that she was a good friend. I thought about her long after I finished this amazing book.
Amazon UK reader review:
Sonia Patricia – Clare, Loving
Absorbing, intelligent and richly textured, this book can be read as three self-contained (long) short stories or as a novel in three parts. It explores both the ambivalent emotions engendered by the mother-daughter relationship as these develop when the daughter becomes a mother herself and then mother to daughter who has just given birth, and the interference – again ambivalent in its impact – of organised religion into sexuality and human relationships. As satisfying on the second reading as the first. Highly recommended. (5 stars)