Robin Wood, August 15, 2012 (view all comments by Robin Wood)
This is one of my all time favorite books. It has a funny, touching, haunting story about memory, the stories we tell ourselves and what it means to love.
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by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and The Magician's Assistant,
"Anne Ursu's writing is effervescent. She manages to fill her sentences with so much light and life that every page in Spilling Clarence is a dazzling event."
by Caroline Leavitt, author of Coming Back to Me,
"Oh, what a book! Haunting, heartbreaking and, at turns, very, very funny, Ursu's Spilling Clarence is about regret, loss, love and, most particularly, the power of our memories — the ones we desperately cling to, and the ones we'd give our very soulds to be able to forget. People with a cast of characters as indelible as a waking dream, and written in pitch-perfect prose, Spilling Clarence is a profoundly original exploration of what it means to be human."
by Katharine Weber, author of Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear and The Music Lesson,
"What a pleasure it is to discover not just a splendidly inventive, witty and highly intelligent novel, which Spilling Clarence certainly is, but also a bright new writer, Anne Ursu, whose debut makes me happy to anticipate our future together — anything she writes, I'll read."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[T]he paint-by-numbers plot development soon becomes labored, and the relentlessly perky prose style calls attention to itself with too arch irony."
by Library Journal,
"Ursu is a writer who cares deeply about her characters....Lots of pop-culture references to life in middle America lend a comic touch. Recommended."
"With compelling, scarred characters and a cleverly rendered setting, Ursu's debut is both thought-provoking and enjoyable."
by USA Today,
by Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Warm, playful, and magical...no scalpel can touch the truths Ursu locates."
by U.S. Weekly,
"Evoking the work of Tyler and Hoffman, this whimsical, bittersweet debut suggests that the stories of our lives save us."
After a smokey fire at a pharmaceutical factory, the panic-stricken townspeople of Clarence fall under the spell of a strange and powerful drug that unlocks their memories — both good and bad — of the citizens of Clarence. Beautifully rendered with a light comic touch, this bittersweet first novel — now in paperback — introduces the original talents of an exciting new writer.
What if you could suddenly remember everything that ever happened in your life? Would it be a blessing — or a curse? The answer is found in Spilling Clarence, a satisfying, witty, romantic, and tender novel. In the fictional town of Clarence, Minnesota, a breakroom microwave sparks a smokey fire at the pharmaceutical factory and triggers a massive chemical spill. Panic-stricken and paralyzed, the townspeople wait until the all-clear signal to assure them everything's back to normal. Except that it isn't. Over the coming days, the citizens of Clarence fall under the spell of a strange and powerful drug that unlocks their memories. They become trapped by their own reminiscences: of love and death, of war and childhood, of family they've lost and sins they've committed. Beautifully rendered with a light comic touch, this bittersweet first novel is about more than the sum of its beguiling parts. It's about the need to remember, and about the bliss of forgetting. A universe peopled by exquisitely drawn characters, Spilling Clarence is a funny, moving story with a truly original premise that introduces the impressive talents of an exciting new writer.
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