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The Clover House: A Novel by Henriette…
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The Clover House: A Novel

by Henriette Lazaridis Power

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10628175,126 (3.29)6
"Boston, 2000. Calliope Notaris Brown receives a shocking phone call. Her beloved uncle Nestor has passed away, and now Callie must fly to Patras, Greece, to claim her inheritance. Callie's mother, Clio --with whom Callie has always had a difficult relationship--tries to convince her not to make the trip. Unsettled by her mother's strange behavior, and uneasy about her own recent engagement, Callie decides to escape Boston for the city of her childhood summers. After arriving at the heady peak of Carnival [and via flashbacks to the Greece of 1940], Callie begins to piece together what her mother has been trying to hide"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This is the story of Calliope - a woman in search of an anchor, a woman wallowing in her mother's indifference, a woman who uses circumstances around her to justify the inevitability of her aloneness, one really sad lady!

This is also the story of Calliope - a woman surrounded with a great big Greek family, a woman loved and cared for by Jonah, a woman divided between her mother's Greece and her own American homeland.

This is also the story of the fingers of war and the long-term suffering that are held in their grip.

This is a story of existence - of living anyway - of sadness, and happiness, and rebirth and death and families and love and endurance and life.

The story moves between current day Greece as Calliope flies from Boston to sort through her uncle's home - the one that he left for her. Calliope must face her mother, who lives in Greece, as she sorts through the collections of Nestor, the almost hoarder uncle. Clio, Calliope's mom, is distant and distracted, and neglectful and mean. And as Calliope sorts through the strands of life buried in Nestor's house she also discovers the hidden stories her mother only partially told.

But, the reader sees it all. Power moves the telling between Calliope's version in current day and Clio's life in prewar Greece. We see the actual story through Clio's eyes and are able to hold that against the partial truth's that she shares with Calliope.

I liked this story - but even as I read I felt there were more layers that were too hard for Clio to tell even to her all seeing reader. This, made me think again and again of the thousands of versions we tell ourselves of the events that enfold us. This follows a family's fall from great wealth to ruin during an impossible time. And though we feel we are seeing it all as Clio remembers, we aren't. It still holds the romanticized feeling of stories our grandparent's told. Refrains we know and can repeat along with them. So reality becomes what we want it to be - not what it really is.

It made me consider again the 'head' talks I have with myself - the things I believe as the truth and how they may or may not be reality.

Very interesting! ( )
  kebets | Nov 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Clover House is pretty well written, laid out well and the prose is perfectly serviceable at the very least. However, I just could not make myself truly care about what happened and found myself in the odd position halfway through the book of not really caring whether or not I continued reading. Usually at that point something will either be annoying me (and nothing was) or I will want to finish the journey the author has started me on. I'm not sure if I am just not the right reader for this book, or if it wasn't the right time for me, but I just didn't love this book as I had hoped that I would.
  DevourerOfBooks | Nov 15, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
From the book synopsis:

"For fans of Victoria Hislop's The Island and Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key, a powerful debut novel about a woman shuttling between America and Greece to solve the mystery surrounding her family's past and claim an identity of her own.

A phone call from her cousin sends Calliope Notaris Brown from Boston to the Greek city of Patras to sort through an inheritance from her uncle. She arrives during the wild abandon of Carnival, when the world is turned upside down and things are not as they seem. Digging through the keepsakes her uncle has left, Callie stumbles upon clues to the wartime disappearance of the family's fortune and to the mystery of her estranged mother's chronic unhappiness. As she pieces together family secrets that stretch back to the Italian occupation of Greece during World War II, Callie's relationship with her fiancé, her mother, and her mother's two sisters will change irrevocably."

While I did enjoy this book, it was a struggle to get through it.

I did find Calliope's mom's story interesting but there was too many things thrown in the mix. It was hard to keep straight. ( )
  WifeMomKnitter | Sep 16, 2013 |
I liked this book, and enjoyed that it took place in Greece. I also really like when books flip back and forth between two different time frames. In this story, we begin in Boston, 2000 with the character of Callie. She gets a call from Greece informing her that her uncle has passed away. Right away the reader wonders why her mother has not made the call, but a cousin.

The other part of the story is told from the point of view of Clio, Callie's mother. It takes us to Greece in 1940 when Clio is a young teenager growing up in WWII.

I did wish that we got to explore the characters more. Clio was very distant and abrasive. I never felt connected to her. Her daughter Callie was also not very likable or considerate to those around her. I can only guess that it was due to her upbringing and she was supposed to come off this way.

In a way the story is quite realistic. No fairy tale endings or amazing discoveries and acknowledged by the family, but instead readers are given a glimpse into a fractured, but capable family who continues to go about each day the best they can. ( )
  melaniehope | Sep 10, 2013 |
I was looking forward to this book and intrigued by the combination of history and a mystery but the characters never took off and were some of the most unlikeable. Callie, the narrator, seems to think everything in her life stems from the coldness of her mother and a secret from her mother's past. The mother, Clio, has returned to her native Greece and the two are estranged. The mother survived the occupation of Greece during WWII. The intrigued was there but the reader found themselves just not caring about these two people and whatever problems they envisioned for themselves. Callie was continually placing the issues faced in her own life on the past of her mother and the mother was one of the most callous and cold characters even before the traumatic events affecting her family during the war. Why the reader would care about these two I do not know. The historical references about life in Greece were interesting but the storyline never took off. ( )
  kmmt48 | Jul 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everythign in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. Tom Stoppard--Arcadia
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Voor JP,

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
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Op die zeldzame momenten dat ze de wereld om haar heen niet onder controle, had gaf mijn moeder de schuld vierkant aan Amerika, het land waarnaar ze in 1959 met tegenzin vanuit Griekenland was geëmigreerd.

On those rare occassions when she couldn't control the world around her, my mother placed the blame squarely on America. ..
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