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Clara's Heart

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A unique bond forms between a twelve-year-old and a Jamaican housekeeper in this moving novel that is “a work of art” (Los Angeles Times).
The basis for the beloved film starring Whoopi Goldberg, this prize-winning novel by the author of Nightswimmer and Cloudland charts the profound, rare friendship between a wise woman named Clara and David, a twelve-year-old boy adrift in the wake of a family tragedy and his parents’ broken marriage. As the two grow closer, she brings him into her special world of patois and Jamaican beauty parlors and shadowy alliances, and he comes to realize that in her native country Clara has left behind a mystery, which he grows determined to unveil.
Heralded as a classic, Clara’s Heart is at once moving and comical, a tribute to unconventional love, by “a writer in total command of his narrative” (Ian McEwan).

“A remarkable writer.” —Grace Paley

“An impressive novel . . . Clara’s Heart is notable precisely because of the risks Joseph Olshan has taken that do succeed, not the least of which is its sensitive and often comical treatment of the unique love between a precocious American boy and a wise if tormented Jamaican woman.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Olshan’s achievement is to have created a separate and entirely believable world, carefully, comically and humanely drawn. It is held together by much tension and contains many excellent and recognizable scenes and embarrassments . . . A fine debut.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)

Joseph Olshan is the award-winning author of nine novels, the most recent of which, Cloudland (2012), was hailed by the New York Times: “Joseph Olshan has stepped up and hit one for the home team.  The bracing clarity of his prose . . . observes the destructive impact [the] killings have on this isolated region.”

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 01, 1985 – With its intricate characterization, a plot that weaves together two very different cultures, and a narrative enriched by fresh, often poignant dialogue, this is an extraordinary first novel. At its heart is the unusually close relationship betwen Clara, a Jamaican, and David Hart, who is eight years old when Clara enters his life. David's mother meets Clara in a Jamaican hotel, where the kind, wise woman is a chambermaid. The Harts are on a trip designed to lift Leona from the depression that has engulfed her since her infant daughter was found dead in her crib. Clara reaches out to Leona, soothing her in a way no one else has been able to, and the woman returns to Rye, N.Y., as the Hart's live-in housekeeper. Leona turns to spiritualism and philosophy to fight her inner emptiness, becoming estranged from her husband, who eventually moves out. It is then Clara who provides the only constancy in David's life. Yet the intensity of their friendship, and the dark secret of her past that Clara is determined to hide from David, creates an emotional chaos that is skillfully portrayed and finally resolved in this wonderful novel, which won the London Times/Jonathan Cape Young Writers' Competition. November 21
Clara's Heart
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Family
  • Published: Jul 09, 2013
  • Publisher: Delphinium Books
  • Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC
  • Print Length: 312 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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