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The Clasp by Sloane Crosley
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The Clasp

by Sloane Crosley

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very little plot, and what there is of plot is deceptive -- meaning, the story takes the form of a mystery/treasure hunt, but it is really in service to the other theme of the novel, the protagonists' working through their emotional and professional stagnation, and coming to a sort of reunion between them. This is the heart of the novel, and the hunt is really just a side issue. ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | Feb 28, 2017 |
3 stars for the plot. 5 stars for the writing. ( )
  corioreo | Sep 16, 2016 |
A lot of hype. It was interesting, but I didn't really relate much to the characters. ( )
  midwestms | Apr 30, 2016 |
Although this book begins with a wedding, it is hardly a tale of harmonious relationships. Three friends from a small, unnamed, New England college - Kezia, Nathaniel, and Victor - reunite at said wedding (as guests) and a chain of events are set off that brings them to Europe in search of a potentially non-existant necklace from a Guy de Maupassant short story. The way that the events unfold are exciting and hilarious...reminiscent of the Great Muppet Caper in its madcappedness. Without divulging spoilers, I'll discuss the three main characters. Each of the characters has a complicated relationship to the others, and that complication sets off some of the conflict and events in the later part of the novel.

Kezia is the main assistant to a eccentric, temperamental NYC jewelry designer. Her daily experience is highly stressful. As she compares her life to those of her college friends, she finds herself lacking. She's not making much money, her job isn't fulfilling in any meaningful way, she's not as thin or glamorous as many of the other women working in her field, and her love life is practically non-existent.

Nathaniel fancies himself a literature snob, brilliant writer/storyteller, and suave ladies man. After graduation, he moves to LA and tries to break into screenwriting with minimal success. The culture of self-absorption and nonchalance at first appeals to him, but the sheen begins to wear off over time. The character is, at one point, diagnosed as having a small-sized heart, which lends a Grinchish color to him. He's frustrated with the trajectory of his life and career, and often defensive about his life choices. This manifests in a kind of bravura that wears thin at times, but seems completely believable for the character.

Victor has always felt unsuccessful in whatever he does. As the book begins, he's gotten fired from his job at a non-prominent internet search engine company. He's floundering in his life, always with a dark cloud hovering just overhead. He's a bit of a kleptomaniac, which feeds his meager ego. The "ho hum-ness" of his life gave me the impression of the character Eeyore. Many of the bad things that happen throughout the book happen to him, and each event reinforces the inverse relationship with how much sympathy/pity the reader feels for him. ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
Victor, Kezia, and Nathaniel were friends in college, and they reunite at a college friend's wedding. None are quite where they thought they would be, but they hide their disappointments from each other. An odd encounter with the groom's mother sends Victor on a quest, and Kezia and Nathaniel eventually follow. As they start to admit the truth about their lives to themselves and then each other, their relationships shift.

Crosley's fiction is as witty and pithy as her essays, but toward the end of the book there is a bit of depth as well, and the plot is satisfying; there are plenty of literary references as well. A funny and enjoyable book, probably most appealing to twenty- and thirty-somethings.

Quotes

Was there a worse compliment than the one with no adjective? You have a face. It's a sweater. He does a job. (Victor, 18)

She hated Los Angeles as a concept, but she also hated it on a personal level. Los Angeles was dangerous to the human touch. Like a sleeping python. One never knows when it will shake loose from an acai-berry coma whip around, and say something god-awful to your face. And she wasn't even in show business. (Kezia, 68)

But money was never the point. This was the silent principle of wealth that Victor had not understood...Accessibility made [his] things worthless. Whereas part of the necklace's worth was that it was impossible to get. (Victor, 152)

Libraries tend not to attract crowds unless people want to set their contents on fire. (Victor, 199)

His life seemed dumb after just one day away from it. (Nathaniel, 268)

Even in his dreams, he was himself. (Victor, 283)

"You all pretend not to be fancy...But you guys are afflicted with want just like everyone else except you have the added burden of having to pretend you'd rather be home than at the Vanity Fair Oscar party." (Kezia to Nathaniel, 310)

He was just so accustomed to the steady hum of wanting her. Her picture had hung in his heart for so long. (Victor, 328)

He was Dorian Gray and she was the painting: If she stopped remembering him the way he used to be, he feared that version of himself would cease to exist. (Nathaniel and Kezia, 334)

Maybe it wasn't real and he just wanted to hear what it sounded like to be that passionate about anything. Maybe this was like missing the last train to a destination you weren't so sure you wanted to go to anyway. (Nathaniel, 336)

"I thought, on some core level, that there was a soul to information and that facts wanted to be found....But facts and objects don't give a shit about being found because they don't see themselves as lost. They know they are real without us." (Victor to Kezia and Nathaniel, 351) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 30, 2015 |
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