cover image The Clasp

The Clasp

Sloane Crosley. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-12441-0

Taking a page from her essay collections (I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number), Crosley once again brandishes a mix of smarts and sarcasm to commemorate some of life’s more mortifying moments in her first work of fiction. The novel begins at a luxe wedding as once-close friends—Victor, a recently fired misanthropic data analyst at an Internet start-up; Kezia, the tightly wound second in command to an eccentric New York jeweler; and Nathaniel, a foppish, struggling TV writer in L.A.—rehash old sexual tensions and lament their stagnant existences since the carefree days of college a decade prior. A third of the way through the book, the narrative shifts from oft-explored late-20-something territory into a ridiculous yet entertaining comedy-of-errors adventure caper with doddering Victor at the helm. When the ailing mother of the groom discovers him drunkenly passed out on her bed the night of the wedding, she inexplicably reveals the whereabouts of a secret stash of jewels to him before dying—including a sketch of the long-lost 114-karat necklace featured in Guy de Maupassant’s famed short story “The Necklace” and clues to its supposed whereabouts. Victor’s harebrained attempts at tracking the necklace down, culminating in a French chateau break-in with a mildly concerned Kezia and Nathaniel in hot pursuit, make not only for fun reading but hint at the surprisingly poignant extent of just how far old acquaintances will go to save one another’s hides. [em](Oct.) [/em]