Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: The Clasp

Summary: Kezia, Nathaniel, and Victor are reunited for the extravagant wedding of a college friend. Now at the tail end of their twenties, they arrive completely absorbed in their own lives-Kezia the second-in-command to a madwoman jewelry designer in Manhattan; Nathaniel the former literary cool kid, selling his wares in Hollywood; and the Eeyore-esque Victor, just fired from a middling search engine. They soon slip back into old roles: Victor loves Kezia. Kezia loves Nathaniel. Nathaniel loves Nathaniel.

In the midst of all this semi-merriment, Victor passes out in the mother of the groom's bedroom. He wakes to her jovially slapping him across the face. Instead of a scolding, she offers Victor a story she's never even told her son, about a valuable necklace that disappeared during the Nazi occupation of France.

And so a madcap adventure is set into motion, one that leads Victor, Kezia, and Nathaniel from Miami to New York and L.A. to Paris and across France, until they converge at the estate of Guy de Maupassant, author of the classic short story "The Necklace."

Heartfelt, suspenseful, and told with Sloane Crosley's inimitable spark and wit, The Clasp is a story of friends struggling to fit together now that their lives haven't gone as planned, of how to separate the real from the fake. Such a task might be possible when it comes to precious stones, but is far more difficult to pull off with humans. -- FSG

I was so excited to see that Sloane Crosley had written her first novel novel. I remember Ms. Crosley back in my early days of blogging when she was a publicist. I own her her essay collections but haven't read them yet; and rather than going back and starting from the beginning, I decided to read her novel THE CLASP first.

THE CLASP tells the story of three friends from college who are brought back together for the wedding of a friend. They are in their late 20s and are all pretty much consumed with themselves. Kezia works for a jewelry designer (think The Devil Wears Prada type of boss!), while Nathaniel is trying to make it as a writer in LA. Meanwhile, Victor has just lost his job with a second (or third tier) search engine company. Their friendships are a bit complicated because Kezia wants Nathaniel and Victor wants Kezia... and Nathaniel is kind of all about Nathaniel!

At the wedding, Victor ends up have a drunken discussion with the groom's mother. She tells him a secret about a valuable necklace that went missing during World War II when the Nazis were occupying France. Victor can't get this story out of his mind so he sets out to France to find this lost necklace. The three friends end up meeting again at the estate of Guy de Maupassant  author of the short story "The Necklace."

To be entirely honest, I wasn't sure that I was the target audience for THE CLASP; and while I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure I totally "got it." It's not that the story was complicated. Rather, I just think that my middle-aged life in Central PA is just so different from what these three characters were experiencing! Having said that, though, I did enjoy the novel; and I definitely appreciated Ms. Crosley's writing.

THE CLASP was a unique story! I liked how she tied the necklace in the novel to the classic short story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant. (I probably shouldn't admit this, but I have never read that story although I don't think that really affected my appreciation of the novel.) Ms. Crosley did a wonderful job of using the story as an inspiration to her own novel, and I especially enjoyed seeing how the messages in the original story appeared in the character's lives in THE CLASP.

Another fun aspect of this novel was the actual quest to discover the missing necklace. It was a tad bit silly and almost caper-like as Victor became obsessed with finding it. I definitely laughed a few times at his antics, and I thought these scenes were very well written.

And that brings me to my next point... Ms. Crosley is an outstanding writer. Her writing is so smart and her wit is razor-sharp. I thought her character development was extremely well done, and it was interesting to see their growth (or lack thereof) throughout the course of the story. There were many times that I re-read sections of the novel because the writing was just so good! I definitely look forward to more of her novels.

Overall, I was impressed with the writing skills that Ms. Crosley demonstrated in this novel. Recommended to fans of literary fiction!

I received a copy of this novel at the 2015 BEA.


bermudaonion said...

I seem to be struggling with literary fiction lately - I think I'm too distracted to grasp its meaning - so this probably isn't the right book for me right now.

HeatherAnne said...

Oddly enough I find myself reading a lot of fiction centered on 20-somethings finding themselves and growing in character - not the most likely choice for a 40-something. To me they are nice light reads. :-) Probably because I'm not the target audience for the deeper thought woven into the tale. I think the capers sounds fun and interesting! I'll have to check it out.