THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis Power
THE CLOVER HOUSE is an interesting first novel which takes us on a journey to Greece; not only present day Greece but how life was lived during World War II. It is a story which indicates how a vibrant landowning, wealthy family can be completely changed by war and how it proceeds to change the family patterns in the next generations.
The story centers on a family secret that no one is sharing with the youngest member of the present generation – Calliope. When Calliope’s only uncle dies she must dive into the contents of his home to figure out what message he is attempting to relay to her. Calliope has a tough relationship with her Greek Mother and has spent the majority of her formative years living in the New England area of the USA where her American Father brought his new bride. Summers were spent with her Mother’s family in Greece, where Callie has developed a close relationship with her Aunts, Uncle and one cousin. Calliope has a problem with attachment to people, particularly her mother and since the death of her father her close knit family in Greece. It is causing problems with her recent engagement also.
I do not think THE CLOVER HOUSE is about PTSD carried to the next generation, I think rather it is about SHAME from childhood confusions, teenage rebellions, fear and survival carried over from the experience of War into the future. While I was reading this novel, I read these three quotes shared by Brene’ Brown, a psychology researcher, on her Blog and I thought they clarified this behavior extremely well.
“Shame diminishes our capacity for empathy.“ “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” And from the book Shame & Guilt by Tangney and Dearing “ …feelings of shame are so painful that it pulls the focus to our own survival, not the experience of other”.
I had a hard time feeling the rhythm of the writing in the beginning of the story, then when the story began unfolding and I found the pacing; I could not put the book down. I loved the cultural differences showcased and explored by the cultural bi-participant. I have empathy for my parents leaving closely tied family to live far away in another country and yet how my mother particularly grew closer to her siblings as they aged.
I enjoyed the descriptions of farm life and business during the war and the contemporary Carnival experience of Lent played out as a metaphor for the resurrection which brought about atonement – enlightenment- understanding. There was need of a great many of the details and fine tuning to create this layered story allowing for healing; maybe even redemption and connection.
This book goes on sale April 2, 2013 and I was sent an uncorrected eBook by Ballantine Books/Random House and TLC online Tours. It was a good read and there is a giveaway being offered by the Publishers. You need to make a comment to win a copy of THE CLOVER HOUSE.
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