The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

Monday, October 26, 2015

Publisher: Random House UK, Cornerstone
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Part comedy of manners, part treasure hunt, the first novel from the writer whom David Sedaris calls "perfectly, relentlessly funny" 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.
I really like this book. It has all the elements I usually enjoy - twenty somethings trying to figure stuff out, weddings, snarky wry characters, a decent sprinkling of humour - but it also had a pleasantly surprising bonus...a fast moving plot that was a bit of an adventure!

I've seen The Clasp mentioned in my usual magazines and on a few websites when I've been searching for new reads. Usually it's featured alongside Fates and Furies (which we know I wasn't so keen on) but I was so pleased that The Clasp was enjoyable. For me, the thing that separated the two (other than a decent plot) was the character development.

I think we all know a Victor, Kezia and Nathaniel (perhaps we're even like one - or more - of them) and relatable characters are usually part of the recipe for a successful novel. The perspective jumps from one to the other and I'm pleased to report that all of their voices sounded different (I have read many stories where all of the different points of view blend into one). They were all endearing in certain ways as they searched for both the necklace and their purpose. I liked Kezia in particular - after all, she was flying the flag for the ladies - as she walked her own walk and didn't seem to be terribly preoccupied with finding that special someone, which is something that seems to plague every female character I've come across recently. There's nothing wrong with that at all - especially if you chose to read a romance novel - but sometimes it's nice to hear a different song. She also wasn't overly nice and sweet nor was she terribly unhinged (again, seems like much of what I'm reading these days have one or the other.) Instead, it was nice to have Nathaniel - who, as the writer, is technically the romantic out of them all - go down that path instead. Finally, Victor was the perfect Eeyore of the story. All of the friends and minor characters were also used to great effect.

I didn't read 'The Necklace' in school or university (Theology graduate here) so I wasn't familiar with the story but it's recapped plenty of times throughout the book, so that's not a hindrance if you haven't read it either. I thought using the story within the story worked very well.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Clasp and look forward to reading Sloane Crosley's next work of fiction. 

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