How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

Connie May Fowler, Author . Grand Central $21.99 (278p) ISBN 978-0-446-54068-1

In this gloomy novel, Fowler (Before Women Had Wings ) presents a day in the life of writer Clarissa Burden, stuck in a loveless marriage and preoccupied with a joyless childhood. Memories of a cruel mother aren't the only things haunting Clarissa; a number of ghosts, including the 19th-century biracial family who had lived in Clarissa's Florida home, also weave themselves into Clarissa's story. Plagued by writer's block and suspicious of her photographer husband (and the nude models he employs), Clarissa leaves home for a day filled with spooky cemeteries, near-death experiences, life-altering conversations, exhilaration, and frustration. The plot tends to meander, incorporating not just incorporeal spirits but occasional jaunts into the minds of Florida's animals; still, Fowler produces some singularly memorable characters. By the time Clarissa stands up to her husband, readers will have suffered mightily through a sweltering Florida solstice, listening to the heroine's witty, sometimes whiney, internal monologue, and wishing for some real action. Fortunately, Fowler delivers on that wish, bringing together all her characters—dead, alive, and imagined—for an explosive conclusion. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-446-54069-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-56898-2
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-60941-433-7
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