Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Clover House by Henriette Lazaridis Power

Image from Library thing

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!

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