We That are Left by Clare Clark
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
If you are a huge fan of all those 17th and 18th century novels that were written by woman about the woman’s condition at their time, and you’ve been wishing desperately for something new to read, then Clark has answered your dreams.
This novel is so very much like those written a hundred years ago that it’s uncanny. Clark has a flare for replicating a prosaic voice that is mannered and very much like those narrators unseen yet so sweeping in their scope in novels of yore. (Yes, I just said, “novels of yore,” and yes, I really meant exactly that.)
So hang on, because this one will take you to the modern (ish) wartime, yet keep you imbedded in the same sort of class dramas. The synopsis for the book says it all in that regard, so I won’t replicate it here. Let’s just say that this is well worth the time, and yes, it’s also worth paying attention throughout the first 70 pages or so to grasp each of the characters that are quickly introduced.
You’ll swoop quickly through the relevant points of their childhood. It could have been better done by starting with adults and integrating those younger years components when they became relevant but it seems like a lot of publishers are pushing authors to write from the youthful perspective these days, so I’ll let that slide by without anything negative on the scoring.
Otherwise, a great read you’ll want to catch! Grab it now and you’ll plunge into the delightful antiquated flavor with a new, updated story.
For another contemporary story that has the nuances of times past, try Reparation: A Novel of Love, Devotion and Danger, in which a Lakota Sioux man must honor his traditions while trying to save his sister and his lover from a sinister and charismatic church leader.
The publisher provided a copy so that I could write this review.