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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
A stunning, exquisite novel from an award-winning writer about a minister dispatched to a remote island off of Scotland to clear the last remaining inhabitant, who has no intention of leavingan unforgettable tale of resilience, change, and hope. John, an impoverished Scottish minister, has accepted a job evicting the lone remaining occupant of an island north of ScotlandIvar, who has been living alone for decades, with only the animals and the sea for company. Though his wife, Mary, has serious misgivings about the errand, he decides to go anyway, setting in motion a chain of events that neither he nor Mary could have predicted. Shortly after John reaches the island, he falls down a cliff and is found, unconscious and badly injured, by Ivar who takes him home and tends to his wounds. The two men do not speak a common language, but as John builds a dictionary of Ivars world, they learn to communicate and, as Ivar sees himself for the first time in decades reflected through the eyes of another person, they build a fragile, unusual connection. Unfolding in the 1840s in the final stages of the infamous Scottish Clearanceswhich saw whole communities of the rural poor driven off the land in a relentless program of forced evictionsthis singular, beautiful, deeply surprising novel explores the differences and connections between us, the way history shapes our deepest convictions, and how the human spirit can survive despite all odds. Moving and unpredictable, sensitive and spellbinding, Clear is a profound and pleasurable read.
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies

Wow! So so good. Beautiful and haunting and sad and romantic. The love amongst people prevails.

Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I loved many things about this book: learning fascinating words from Ivar‘s language which helped me understand the island‘s landscape, following John Ferguson as he fell gently into Ivar‘s life, and cheering Mary on as she continuously surprised and delighted me.

Thanks to #CampLitsy24 for the great discussions, and to @BarbaraBB @Megabooks and @squirrelbrain for being awesome camp counselors!

BarbaraBB Discussion was great indeed, thanks to all awesome campers! 🤍 4d
squirrelbrain Lovely review! 4d
33 likes2 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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In awe of this book, the author‘s spare & lyrical language that conveys bonds of many sorts: to land, to sea, to animals, to humans. A tribute to the human spirit, its ability to endure, adapt, renew, to hope.
I don‘t know what more I can add to the countless reviews by fellow Littens. Just a HUGE thank you to #camplitsy24 for introducing me to this book.

dabbe Lovely review. 💚💙💚 5d
squirrelbrain Beautiful review! ❤️❤️❤️ 5d
57 likes2 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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3✨I really enjoyed the peace I felt while reading this book. Ivar has been alone on a remote island for a long time, and John is a husband who is trying to provide for his bride. Loosely based on two historical events in Scotland that I wasn‘t aware happened, but now have a little background in. Read for #CampLitsy @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB @Megabooks A little late, but glad I read it with everyone.

Megabooks It was a peaceful book. Glad you joined us! 5d
squirrelbrain Definitely a peaceful book. 5d
24 likes2 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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This is an extraordinarily atmospheric book. The writing was unobtrusive but incredibly effective -I felt the primness of the place and time, the harshness of the weather, the rugged emptiness of the landscape, the rough expanse of the sea and the claustrophobic interiors. The story was simple but engaging and offered plenty to think about. Thanks to the #CampLitsy24 hosts and participants for the discussions which added to my enjoyment.

squirrelbrain Fabulous review - glad you enjoyed it so much! 5d
BarbaraBB So glad you enjoyed it. We‘ve had a good start camping! 5d
Megabooks Love this review! Glad to have you at camp. 🏕️😃🫶🏻 5d
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dabbe Lovely review. 💚💙💚 5d
Centique What a great review - very keen to get to this one 😍 5d
youneverarrived Fab review! 3d
70 likes6 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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This brief novel is a lovely story about the ways that people connect, discover, and communicate. It is 1840 and a minister is sent by a landowner to an island off Scotland to evict the last remaining resident. The minister and the islander meet in a surprising way and a unique bond is formed, despite language and cultural barriers.

Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I just loved this. Such a balm for the soul, and the ending was a nice surprise ♥️ #camplitsy24 @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @Megabooks

BarbaraBB A balm for the soul 🤍 7d
Megabooks Yes!! 7d
CBee @BarbaraBB sometimes you just need a quiet book like this one. I also love when the setting becomes its own character! 6d
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CBee @Megabooks ♥️♥️ 6d
squirrelbrain Such a lovely review! 6d
AmyG For me, the quiet ones are the best. Everything does not need to be spelled out. And yes…the setting. I had this setting puctured perfectly in my head. 6d
BarbaraBB Yes that is quite special about this book 6d
CBee @squirrelbrain thank you! 6d
CBee @AmyG I agree! 📚 👯‍♀️♥️ 6d
79 likes2 stack adds9 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Pick, but I didn't love this as much as others seem to. 3.5⭐

I enjoyed the space writing, and the characters. I am really glad we did this for #CampListy24 the discussions (though I was late to them due to family obligations) were very well thought out and made me sit with the book more than I would have on my own. I loved that the island itself felt like a character, and Mary was my favorite. I liked how language - nonverbal and verbal 👇

ChaoticMissAdventures Played such a large part of the story while Davies used language itself so sparingly. 7d
ChaoticMissAdventures Overall though I thought this was fine but it didn't have the same impact on me as it did for others in the chat. I read a lot of quiet books and this reminds me of The Wren The Wren where I am pretty sure I might not think about it again anytime soon 7d
39 likes2 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Fellow Campers (#CampLitsy24):

Please imagine that I played this song for you, beautifully, on my acoustic guitar around the campfire while the stars twinkled above us. It‘s one of my favorite rainy day songs…and it fits the story perfectly!


*This is an exercise in imagination due to our scattered geography AND my utter lack of musical talent. 😅

kspenmoll Thank you thank you for this musical experience. 7d
monalyisha You‘re welcome, @kspenmoll! 🩶 6d
Meshell1313 Yes!!! Perfect soundtrack for this atmospheric novel! 6d
43 likes3 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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A short, queer, atmospheric novel set in 1843 during the Great Disruption in the Scottish Church & the Clearances, when rural inhabitants in the Highlands & Islands were forced by wealthy landlords to leave their homes.

The title is fitting; it‘s a quiet but powerful exploration of what is clearly important in life (& how that‘s conveyed) and what‘s a little more foggy & nuanced (eg. sexuality, morality, spirituality, multiple intelligences).👇🏻

monalyisha 1/1: What makes this book so poignant is the gray area - literally (in terms of the setting) and metaphorically. Absolutely everything in Davies‘ tale is in transition. (edited) 7d
monalyisha Thanks, #CampLitsy24 for putting this book on my radar! And thanks to @BarbaraBB for leading the discussions. 🩵 7d
Suet624 Great review! 7d
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BarbaraBB Very well said 🩶 7d
squirrelbrain Great review! ❤️ 6d
sarahbarnes Great review! 6d
67 likes1 stack add6 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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What stunned me most about this book was Davies' writing. So much was said with so few words--which simulates what happened in this novel. Ivar, a man living in solitude for years on a remote Scottish island, meets John, the hired minister who's going to tell him he has to leave due to the Highland Clearances. Both learn to communicate in sparse language and discover companionship in one another. Davies' sparse prose captures ⬇️

dabbe the lush and isolated landscape as well as the need for human connection. I will carry this story with me for a while.

A great start to #CampLitsy. Thank you, @megabooks, @squirrelbrain, and @barbarabb, for organizing this and being our indomitable leaders. 💙
squirrelbrain You‘re welcome. ☺️ Fabulous review! 7d
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sarahbarnes Agreed! Great review. 7d
Caryl Beautiful review of a beautiful story! 7d
kspenmoll Wonderful review- I had similar responses to the novel. Just discussed it with a friend today 7d
AmyG I loved this, too. Beautiful book. 7d
monalyisha Excellent point about the book‘s brevity and how it echoes both the sparseness and lushness of the language(s) John & Ivar use to communicate! 7d
Daisey Wonderful review! 7d
BarbaraBB So well said. Great review 7d
dabbe @Caryl 🤩 7d
dabbe @AmyG 🤩 7d
dabbe @Daisey 🤩 7d
dabbe @BarbaraBB 🤩 And thank you for your thought-provoking questions; they helped me pen this. 💙💚💙 7d
BarbaraBB Thank you. The discussion always adds so much to the reading experience! And those questions were a team effort, thanks to @squirrelbrain and @Megabooks 🤍 7d
Megabooks Wow! What a review! So glad to have you at camp. @BarbaraBB is right. We‘re a team each week, and I‘m proud to be a counselor with such fantastic people! @squirrelbrain 7d
dabbe @Megabooks 🤩🤗😀 6d
69 likes21 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Utterly lovely, quietly devastating. #ProcrastinatorsDoItBetter #CampLitsy

squirrelbrain Love the hashtag! 🤣 7d
CBee I beat you - finished it tonight 😂😂😂 7d
53 likes2 stack adds2 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Question 3 of 3

With our third question we‘ve finished the Clear discussion. We hope you‘ll be back next week to discuss the first half of a completely different book: Butter.
Until then, enjoy the beach and the sun and your books and this lovely space to spend time together: #CampLitsy24

See All 82 Comments
Hooked_on_books I LOVED the ending. The fact that Mary simply accepts this love story between John and Ivar and chooses to have all of them together is just beautiful. I felt like the love story was likely to open up to be all three of them, which I tend to think doesn‘t really work, but I‘d like to see it work here. 1w
Bookwormjillk Like @Hooked_on_books I loved that Mary saw what was happening and accepted it. I feel like the three of them have a shot. 1w
Deblovestoread The ending was perfect and hopefully they found a place to live and thrive. 1w
CarolynM It was very abrupt. I‘m not sure that I completely buy Mary‘s acceptance and I can‘t see how John could continue in the Free Church living in a throuple. I think he‘s in for a major attack of conscience, or crisis of faith, once they‘re back in their community. 1w
BarbaraBB I loved the ending too. I think many people didn‘t though. I‘ve been wondering about John‘s future at the Free Church too @CarolynM (edited) 1w
Ruthiella Like @CarolynM , I found the end way too pat and unlikely. The whole book is leading up to a betrayal of trust. I would have accepted some relief, but not sex, Mary‘s acceptance, the Wedgwood tea pot AND the pony? 1w
willaful I also loved the ending. I honestly think it's *brave* to give literary fiction a happy ending! So many people think only tragedy has real meaning. I'm not surprised by Mary's acceptance because I felt that strength of character in her all along but I do wonder about how easily John let everything go, and how well Ivar will cope in a new environment. 1w
CarolynM @Ruthiella It felt like a modern ending to a story that had been previously very much rooted in a particular moment of the past. 1w
squirrelbrain I expected a sad / traumatic ending so was pleasantly surprised. I‘m not sure they would be a throuple @CarolynM ( I think Mary would find someone else) but I do agree that John couldn‘t continue on in the Church. 1w
LeeRHarry I found the ending pretty abrupt but I like that it was left quite open ended. I feel like they all went their separate ways. 1w
RaeLovesToRead The ending was a curveball after the cheeky misdirection with the gun. I agree with @CarolynM - bit abrupt, felt like a modern ending and a bit contrived. Still made me smile but don't 100% buy it. I'm happy the author took that direction though. 1w
Jess I really liked the ending. Given the expectation of violence, I was surprised to see where things ended up. 1w
Susanita It was a surprise! At the same time, Mary had little choice but to accept the situation after how she came to the island. Like others, I‘m curious / concerned about how they will make their way forward. 1w
Soubhiville I agree the ending was a surprise! I really expected a tragedy. I loved the way the author chose to end it. I hope the three of them found a way to live happily together, but I agree that John isn‘t likely to have continued with the church. IMO that‘s not a bad thing, as it sounds like the “new church” was not going to offer John and Mary any kind of secure and comfortable life. 1w
AmyG I loved the ending. Mary could either reject what she saw and live alone…or accept it and find a way to go forward. I think Mary loved John plus did not want to go it alone. I am curious which one came into play the most….love or fear. I am a big fan of a book ending that makes the reader think about how the story will continue. 1w
kspenmoll The ending was a huge surprise to me! I loved it. 1w
JenReadsAlot I was ready for something terrible to happen so loved the ending. 1w
DGRachel I‘m with @CarolynM and @Ruthiella with this one. I didn‘t mind the ending at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. While I didn‘t need a tragic ending, this one felt too neat, like the author hit her word count and had to wrap things up with a tidy bow. I don‘t buy Mary‘s acceptance, and I agree that John is in for some long sleepless nights because of a crisis of a faith. 1w
Laughterhp I was listening to this one on audio, so I didn‘t realize we were nearing the end of the book. So I was quite surprised with how abruptly it ended. I agree with what the others said, where I thought it was going to end in violence. 1w
Chelsea.Poole I‘m typically fine with tragedy/disappointment and prefer realistic any day over a “happy ending”, but I was just thrilled with the way this ended. My mind had planned out such horrible scenarios (and probably more realistic) but to see all three leave together (no one shot!) was just so shocking that I couldn‘t be mad about it. Almost like a twist! Sure, they‘ll have their struggles off the island but hopefully together they‘ll find a way. 1w
Chelsea.Poole I agree the ending was rather brave of the author as @willaful mentioned above. Literary fiction is so often tragic but the story doesn‘t have to be in order for the work to have merit. Maybe it‘s easier to write tragedies?? 1w
mcctrish Mary is unconventional so I think she could handle going off on her own ( there was a passage where she was wishing for more intimacy with John so maybe she does find a new person, I hope so.) Ivar is certainly self sufficient so he could live anywhere ( I forget what the expectation was for him off the island) John is the one most likely to struggle 1w
CogsOfEncouragement It is the mid 1800s and Mary is in her 40s. She is incredibly poor and yet Mary does all she can to get to John because she is so concerned for his safety. Her love and loyalty and bravery are repaid with John's unfaithfulness. I think she's in shock, not acceptance. She just needs off the island right now. They all do. I didn't read this as a HEA. 1w
Megabooks @Hooked_on_books @Bookwormjillk that‘s a big reason I fell so in love with Mary as a character. Her openness and bravery astounded me! 1w
Megabooks @CarolynM @BarbaraBB agree that his future as a minister was very uncertain. Could he handle that? Would the church accept him once again? HUGE unknown!! @squirrelbrain (edited) 1w
Megabooks @RaeLovesToRead yes, contrived and modern but still lovely! 1w
Megabooks @Laughterhp agree there was definitely foreshadowing that had me expecting violence. 1w
MicheleinPhilly The ending really bowled me over as my black heart thought “Surely, someone is gonna die.” I didn‘t foresee Ivar leaving willingly. For me it was less about a potential romantic future for any of the parties as it was about Ivar recognizing the joy to be found in connection and intimacy. 1w
sarahbarnes Agree with many others here that given the books I usually read I definitely expected a tragedy and loved the beautiful twist at the end. It seems like much of John‘s and Mary‘s lives have been unconventional for the time (married later, leaving the church) and now they are bringing Ivar into their lives. I think the book is really a love story to the power of relationship and love. 1w
JamieArc This was my dream ending, which I thought was impossible, so I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and loved it, particularly when Mary says “Instead of two, we could be three.” 1w
JamieArc I love the literary idea of palimpsest, the washing away of words on a document to make room for a new story. This book is the best of that. If I were still studying literature, I would write a paper on this. 1w
JamieArc Lastly, as much as I love how it ended, I can‘t imagine life for them is going to be easy. Thanks for hosting this discussion @BarbaraBB ! We chose a great book to start off #camplitsy24 with! 1w
Nessavamusic I love the hope the ending has, even if it might not be easy for them, it is hopeful. 7d
Kitta I honestly didn‘t really consider John‘s future in the church. I kind of assumed he‘d distanced himself from those beliefs after meeting with Ivar and building intimacy with him. We hear less and less mention of the church and I doubt they‘d be able to return to their home with Ivar and the horse. I saw them as sailing for a new land or at least a new part of the country where they would settle as a family. I liked the ending although its unlikely 7d
Kitta Agreed with many others here that I expected a tragedy though. I thought for sure Mary would be shot at the end or assaulted on the boat or something. I was surprised (in a good way) that it worked out so well. Agreed with @JamieArc that I loved the line “we could be three”. Overall it‘s not a believable ending but it was satisfying and interesting to wonder about their future together. 7d
TheBookHippie I just finished and still pondering. I don‘t like HEA endings tied up neatly, ever.. but this was also open ended.. is it realistic, possibly.. because of Mary‘s character. I did think it would be a brutal ending. I‘m glad it wasn‘t that. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7d
dabbe To me, the book ended on hope: hope that the three could make a life together, hope that society would accept them, hope that it would all work out. But ... I can't help but think of the movie THE GRADUATE--when Hoffman (Benjamin) and Ross (Elaine) are riding away on the bus--both of them thrilled and full of hope--but then their ecstatic smiles turn into neutral expressions as they ponder their future life of uncertainty. 7d
Meshell1313 I thought for sure Mary was going to drag John‘s butt back to the mainland alone so I was SUpEr surprised by the ending. I hope they live happily ever after as a throuple! I like to think John builds his own church with new modern ideas and Ivar adapts to city life! 7d
yourfavouritemixtape I also felt like something tragic has to happen and then when it didn‘t I was very relieved. It kind of wouldn‘t have fit. At first I didn‘t really like this very open ending, not knowing what‘s going to happen with the three of them. But the more I thought about it, the more right it felt, to end this story like that. 7d
Suet624 I love all the responses. I‘m with those who were surprised and delighted by the ending. Actually, I really needed that ending. 7d
BookWrym I disliked the ending for me this would have been better as a story of an unlikely friendship. Ivar could still live with Mary and John as a friend not a lover. That whole storyline felt out of character, out of time and so unlikely I just couldn‘t get on board with it. The ending didn‘t need to be tragic but it did need to be realistic. 7d
willaful @RaeLovesToRead cheeky is a good word for it! It annoyed me, but not really. ;-) 7d
willaful @sarahbarnes well put. 7d
willaful @Suet624 I know just what you mean! 7d
GatheringBooks Like @Suet624 i also needed this kind of ending, notwithstanding its supposed lack of credibility. I think more than a happy ending, it was an ambiguous sort of ending. There is no guarantee they will be happy all living together with all that entails, but at least as the song goes, there are three less lonely people in the world - and perhaps that‘s all that matters in the end. Easing the sense of aloneness and sharing one‘s life with others. 7d
TheKidUpstairs I loved the ending. But I find it interesting that so many describe it as a happy ending, maybe bittersweet, but I didn't really see it as happy. It was, to me, more a sign of Mary's determination to make her life and love work for her. That she would make such a large compromise in order to move forward with John. Like @GatheringBooks mentioned, there really is no guarantee of happiness in this ending... cont'd in next comment 7d
sarahbarnes @Suet624 ♥️♥️♥️ 7d
TheKidUpstairs ...cont'd from previous comment... The ending may be a bright moment, but there is difficulty and trouble coming for these three (as some have pointed out, John is likely to face a lot of difficulty from the church). I think the abruptness of the ending allows them to have their moment of promise, without having to promise us that they'll live happily ever after. 7d
TheKidUpstairs @dabbe what a great comparison! I totally agree. That combination of elation and uncertainty for what comes next. 7d
Suet624 @TheKidUpstairs I appreciate your idea that the ending allows for their (and our) moment of promise. 7d
DebinHawaii I missed the discussion last week & I‘m starting with the last question this week.🤷🏻‍♀️ I am with the liked/loved the ending brigade. Thinking one of the three was going to die & wondering which one I would be most “okay” with dying, I was happy with the resolution. I agree that it isn‘t a HEA ending & more bittersweet & foresee struggles ahead for the trio (no church for John) but my heart likes to think they will find some happiness together. 7d
CarolynM @CogsOfEncouragement Shock, yes, that makes sense to me. @MicheleinPhilly It‘s a story about connection and intimacy so it also makes sense to me to see the ending in that way. @JamieArc I like your idea for a paper! 7d
monalyisha @TheKidUpstairs I found it bittersweet, or tentatively, delicately hopeful, as well. I‘d love to imagine them as a happy throuple (a la my favorite literary throuple: Lindy West, Ahamefule J. Oluo, & Roya Amirsoleymani). But I know that‘s likely far too optimistic! I think Mary‘s a smart woman with a big heart, & I think she weighed her options. 👇🏻 7d
monalyisha Mary‘s experience with Alice might have made her more open-minded than others in her position. We have to remember that she calls the situation a “terrible surprise.” While she acknowledges that sometimes, “terrible surprises can lead to great and unanticipated happiness,” it would be irresponsible to ignore that word: “terrible.” 7d
monalyisha The truly devastating bit for me was that Ivar had to leave his island. It‘s the historical truth (as it was and is in so many places); painful as it was to read, anything else would have rung false. Going in, I knew nothing about The Great Disruption or The Clearances. Im grateful to have come to it in this way! 7d
monalyisha The more I think about the ending, the more I‘m convinced that it WASN‘T tied up with a bow…and the more I like that. 💝 7d
willaful @TheKidUpstairs “ I think the abruptness of the ending allows them to have their moment of promise, without having to promise us that they'll live happily ever after. “ Well put. 7d
willaful @monalyisha Yes, I think finding a way for Ivar not to leave would have been historically impossible, so I'm glad the author found a way to bring him joy anyway. 7d
Karisa @Laughterhp Exactly what I was going to say! I loved the audiobook—narrator‘s voice was perfect! I also did not expect the sudden, happy ending. It didn‘t seem to match the mood. 7d
Prairiegirl_reading @BookWrym I agree with you! 7d
Prairiegirl_reading @Karisa I wish I would have done the audio instead of paper. I kept thinking I wish I could hear these words. I think I would have connected with this book better that way. 7d
Daisey I don‘t see this as a happy ending. It‘s bittersweet and hopeful, but I also see struggle in the future, especially for John. Mary and Ivar both seem more resilient to me, but I see John facing a major crisis of faith when he gets back to the “real” world. I usually don‘t care for open endings, but somehow this one worked for me. 7d
CBee I was surprised at the ending, and very relieved! I did get a bit worried for a moment. I doubt it will be easy, and what saddened me was Ivar having to leave the other animals and the only place he‘d ever known as home. But I like to think they‘ll figure it out ♥️ 7d
dabbe @TheKidUpstairs 💙💚💙 7d
BarbaraBB @CogsOfEncouragement I think you are right. I agree with @TheKidUpstairs that the ending was bittersweet, they are not facing an easy future in either way. I can‘t imagine Ivar living on the mainland for example. Did he leave his animals behind? I can‘t remember 7d
Leniverse I found the development between Ivar and John a bit unbelievable. I find Mary's pragmatic acceptance of it more probable than John's. I know that his life was turned upside down, and he had to revise a lot of notions, but to go from "dancing is sinful" to basically proving what dancing leads to and not have a religious freakout seems odd. That bi-awakening came way too easy for the times. 6d
Leniverse I liked that the ending wasn't sad and horrible. I like to think that they decided to stay in Norway. Found some craggy coastal village where life wouldn't be too alien for Ivar. I've heard this story about how Norwegian (Lutheran) immigrants in the USA in the 1800s were shunned by the strict Calvinist British immigrants because even their ministers liked a spot of dancing and fiddle play. I figure John could change denomination again 😂 6d
peaKnit I like to imagine that the ending offers a glimpse at a new hope for kindness, acceptance and love. I imagine a platonic threesome mostly. I want it to work. I worry about my fictional friends, the times and reality on a mainland may not be kind to them. 🤞🏻 6d
peaKnit @Prairiegirl_reading audio might be wonderful to listen to - great suggestion. Worth another go. 6d
Maggie4483 I think the “Happy Ending“ is an illusion in this one. First and foremost, Ivar is going to really struggle with losing the only home he's ever known, regardless of his new connections. And Mary is clearly not thrilled about the nature of the relationship between John and Ivar. When she talked about the three phases of her life, she said the third with John was the happiest (continued) 6d
Maggie4483 ...but feared she was about to enter the fourth and FINAL phase if she lost John. I think she's compromising more than she really wants to so that she can keep John, because she fears losing him would kill her. I hope I'm wrong, though. There IS, after all, the matter of Mary's picture that Ivar found and felt such a connection to. It's entirely plausible that the two of them form their own unique connection. 🤞 6d
BarbaraBB @Maggie4483 That is a very insightful way of thinking. I think you are right and I hope so too, re Ivar and Mary! 5d
Roary47 I complete agree with @hooked_on_books I liked that Mary was accepting of the bond that Ivar and John had formed. I think that John would do well to continue to help Ivar adjust to his new home, and Ivar could help Mary and John to form a farm so they could be self sustaining and not have to worry about money so much anymore. The dance made them look more like a couple then as just friends, but I really saw their relationship as a friendship. 5d
Caryl Very interesting answers here! I liked the ending, especially this part, from Mary's perspective: “You never knew in advance if a decision was the right one. All you could do was try to imagine the future and use that to help you make up your mind in a difficult situation, and if you couldn't imagine the future, well, you had to make up your mind anyway.“ (p. 182) And I'm realizing that I don't really need to know what happens next. 2d
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Question 2 of 3

We have another birthday to celebrate at Camp: @Rockpools is celebrating! So it‘ll be another busy and festive day at #CampLitsy24!

See All 58 Comments
CarolynM Happy birthday @rockpools 💕 I think Ivar. There is something about his simplicity and innocence and also his self possession that is very appealing to me. 1w
Hooked_on_books I liked all the characters (of the main 3), but if I had to pick one, I would say Mary. She‘s so steady, clearly loyal, and also open-minded in a way I would not have expected for the era. I can probably also relate to her the most, which draws me to her. (And I tend to be more drawn to women and our stories.) 1w
Bookwormjillk HBD @rockpools 🎂 I didn‘t have a favorite so maybe the animals or the island itself. Both of the main characters were hiding something pretty significant from each other and I didn‘t love that. Understandable because of the circumstances and language barrier, but it made it hard for me to connect with them. (edited) 1w
Deblovestoread Hard to choose a favorite. I admired Ivar‘s ability to just live his life but I loved Mary‘s gumption. 1w
rockpools Thank you @BarbaraBB @CarolynM @Bookwormjillk ☺️. I‘m hoping to catch up and join in tomorrow. 1w
BarbaraBB I‘m with you @Hooked_on_books and @Deblovestoread although it‘s hard not too love Ivar too! 1w
willaful @Hooked_on_books I also really liked Mary, perhaps because I could relate the most to her point of view. And I was pleased that she didn't let me down but stayed strong and sensible. 1w
Ruthiella Happy Birthday to @rockpools ! 🥳 I liked Mary the best- her no nonsense attitude. 1w
squirrelbrain I agree @CarolynM - I liked Ivar‘s simplicity and also the way he grew throughout the story. 1w
LeeRHarry I liked Mary the best, pretty gutsy to go heading off to see what had happened to John. 1w
Jess I have to go with Mary. I love her take charge attitude. 1w
Soubhiville Happy Birthday @rockpools ! I loved Ivar, because of his contented nature living in solitude and his surprise and depth of feeling first with the portrait of Mary and then developing new feelings with John. 1w
AmyG Happy Birthday @rockpools 🎂 I felt a connection to Mary, perhaps because I am a woman. I found her and her relationship with John fascinating. I saw her as a woman trying to survive in this world. Women had their own set of challenges back then. 1w
kspenmoll I do love Mary for all her grit, devotion to her marriage, ability to weather change. But Ivar was my favorite- such a fleshed out character who experienced transformation 1w
DGRachel Happy Birthday @rockpools! I don‘t have a favorite character. This was the kind of quiet book where no one person really stood out over any others to me. 1w
JenReadsAlot I have to go with Ivar! 1w
Laughterhp I don‘t think I had a favorite character. I‘m with @DGRachel where no one really stood out to me over others. 1w
Chelsea.Poole Happy Birthday @rockpools 🌻 I loved Ivar. He‘s such a singular character. I did appreciate both John and Mary as well but for me, Ivar was the most interesting and just lovable. 1w
mcctrish Happy Birthday @rockpools I‘m with most you, Mary and Ivar were my favourites 1w
MicheleinPhilly I couldn‘t pick just one as they were all rendered so masterfully. So I‘ll go with Pegi. 😉 1w
Megabooks Happy birthday @rockpools !! Sending a virtual cake! 🎂 1w
Megabooks Like many have said, I loved Mary‘s bravery and steadfastness while remaining open to a very unconventional experience. 1w
sarahbarnes I loved them all, but would probably say Mary, for her independence and unconventional love for John. 1w
JamieArc I don‘t have a favorite either, but what I loved about each of them is that while they were all very different characters, they each had this ability to accept change in an empathetic way. They were strong, but not stubborn, and could make room for change to come. 1w
Nessavamusic I liked all of the people, could I choose the island as a character? The environment/setting was such an important part of the book. 7d
Kitta Agreeing with most people here that I like Mary the best. Sailing off after her husband would be a very unusual thing to do, for a woman alone at that time (I think?). And her acceptance of Ivar as well. @Deblovestoread used the word gumption and I agree! Great word by the way. (edited) 7d
rockpools @ruthiella @Soubhiville @AmyG @DGRachel @Chelsea.Poole @Graciouswarriorprincess @mctrish Thank you! I really do need to get back to reading more books. I miss you guys! And thanks for the cake @megabooks 😘 7d
TheBookHippie @AmyG I agree women in that age the choices not too many. I admired her. 7d
TheBookHippie I liked the atmosphere & the setting the most. If that can be a character. 7d
dabbe I'm with the ones who chose the setting. Without the isolated setting, there would be no story. For ex., would this story have worked if John lived on the mainland of Scotland? It is the isolation itself that makes Ivar who he is and created the need for communication between John and Mary and himself. It also creates the classic conflict of man vs. nature and then man vs. man and then man vs. society as the three are going to go back to humanity. 7d
Meshell1313 Happy birthday @rockpools ! Did no one pick John. 🤣 funny how he seems to be the villain in all of this. I also admire Mary the most for her dedication and decision to go and find her husband. She could have just started a new life on the mainland but her loyalty is impressive. 7d
yourfavouritemixtape I am also with @TheBookHippie the atmosphere was what struck me the most (and also what I will remember for a long time) 7d
Suet624 @Meshell1313 I was thinking the same thing about John. Funny that no one picked him. I was very impressed with Mary‘s courage and ability to adapt to the possibility of all three being together. (edited) 7d
BookWrym Happy birthday @rockpools I am joining those who chose the setting. 7d
GatheringBooks Happy birthday, @rockpools. I will join all the others who mentioned Mary as their favourite. The no-nonsense, casual, intuitive way she sensed how her husband changed with Ivar, how she delicately assessed the situation, and basically took charge through the invitation of where there used to be two, there is now three. More than generosity of spirit, it was also taking charge of her life and knowing exactly what she can live with. Such clarity. 7d
squirrelbrain Interesting that no-one picked John @Meshell1313 @Suet624 - I don‘t see him as a villain though, just not as interesting, even though everything revolves around him 7d
DebinHawaii For me it was also the island which did seem its own character & was so vividly drawn I could see, hear, taste smell & feel it, followed by Ivar. I smiled the most when I read his chapters & liked his joy in simple things. He had great heart that touched mine. Mary is right up there too with her grit & strength. I felt sympathy for John but he didn‘t draw me in as a character nearly as much. 7d
monalyisha I‘m not sure about favorite character…but favorite scene might be the passage when Ivar quietly speaks with his old blind cow, “telling her what he could see.” Never mind that the gorgeous fact that there‘s a word for “a big dark cloud with a whitish top through which the sun was shining,” but the tenderness that this scene conveys is beyond touching! How heartbreaking that he was forced to leave this relationship behind. 7d
monalyisha I wouldn‘t choose John as a favorite character but I found his love of language especially endearing. The scene where he breaks down and cries, too, after their dance, and when he takes Mary‘s photo to the hermit‘s cave to speak with her. I think it‘d be difficult to see him as a villain, though it‘s equally perplexing to imagine why everyone seems to be so immediately enamored! His “bony, Presbyterian face” must‘ve cast a VERY strong profile! 😅 7d
CBee Ivar - even more so after he told his blind cow about what he was seeing ♥️ 7d
CBee Agree about the island and setting being a character! 7d
BarbaraBB I agree @sarahbarnes that she was so unconventional and I loved that too about her. And what @JamieArc points out is true as well, that all three of them were willing to accept change, which makes Ivar and John quite unconventional too. (edited) 7d
jenniferw88 Ivar was probably my favourite. Probably because LGBTQ issues are very close to my heart, I hated Mary and wanted her to die on the boat voyage over so that Ivar and John could have a HEA. It's obvious to me that John now thinks Mary is interfering and ruining the budding friendship (relationship?) with Ivar. (edited) 6d
peaKnit Ivar was my favorite, he is so simple, gentle and self sufficient. He knits. 🧶 I enjoy Ivar‘s in my real life when possible. They can teach you so much. (edited) 6d
peaKnit @CBee yes, his care for his animals is so special. 6d
Maggie4483 It was definitely hard to pick a favorite - there's a lot of kindness in all of them. But Ivar was so sweet and genuine in his simplicity, and I really respect Mary's tenacity. I'd guess that the reason John didn't top anyone's list is because he made Ivar cry - he definitely lost points with me on that one. But then, I sympathized with him and the guilt he clearly felt immediately after, and the steps he took to apologize redeemed him for me. 6d
Roary47 I would say that my favorite is Ivar. I enjoyed reading his sections the most. I think I like him the most because I didn't have many friends growing up so I would talk to my animals and care for them a lot like he did. 5d
Caryl I enjoyed reading everyone's answers here! Today, I will choose Mary as my favorite character, mainly because I expected this to be a story just about Ivar and John. The inclusion of Mary's backstory, the decisions she made when she feared for John, and the graceful and loving way she moved into the next part of her story all surprised and delighted me. 2d
48 likes58 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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#CampLitsy24 question 1 of 3

What a great discussion we‘ve had last week. Thank you all for adding so much to the book by sharing your insights, feelings and thoughts. The second half of Clear is where the action was so lots to discuss again! I‘ll post three questions again.

See All 82 Comments
Hooked_on_books I didn‘t see it as a love letter to language, though I like that read. I felt more that their learning of one another‘s language was a piece of getting to know each other and it fit the place in the sense of being a slower process for a slower way of life. I liked that reflection. 1w
CarolynM I‘ve literally just finished reading the book so I‘m thinking very hard about that relationship. The forced proximity and isolation must be a big part of it, but communication strengthens connection and because they both had to work so hard on communication by learning each other‘s language I think they would have created a deeper connection than if communication had come easily. 1w
Deblovestoread I also didn‘t see it as a love letter to language but did feel their connection grow along side their ability to communicate with each other. 1w
BarbaraBB @Hooked_on_books @CarolynM @Deblovestoread Agreeing with you all. It made them feel more equal I think, both reaching out to understand the other. (edited) 1w
willaful I think the authors own use of language was... a bit tricksy, manipulative even. I don't really mind because things turned out better than they were being foreshadowed. Everything seemed to be leading to horrible tragedy. 1w
Ruthiella I see the love letter aspect of it. There is a real thrill when one starts to understand the nuances of a language not their own and appreciate the nuances of their own language which they may have previously taken for granted. Both John and Ivar (and vicariously the reader) get a taste of this in their ad hoc language immersion program. (edited) 1w
squirrelbrain Interesting thought @willaful - I‘d love to know more about why / how you think the author was being manipulative. 🤔 1w
willaful @squirrelbrain Among other things, it was strongly suggested that Mary would be shot and killed. 1w
LeeRHarry I like storylines where language or lack of plays a large part in the narrative - how characters get around not being able to communicate well verbally. 1w
RaeLovesToRead I don't really agree with the love letter to the power of language statement. I suspect the majority of John and Ivar's communication was non-verbal. The fact that John was enthusiastic about learning was probably helpful to their bond, and the author obviously loved researching it, but I didn't see it as the overarching theme of the book. 1w
Susanita I can see the love letter aspect in how they both enjoyed going over the word lists as John refined some of the nuanced meanings. He understood that learning another language is about more than vocabulary lists. 1w
Soubhiville I agree @RaeLovesToRead . I thought it was an interesting part of the story, but not one of the most important parts. I‘d say the author was more excited about rediscovering old language than I was about reading all of the words in Iva‘s tongue. 1w
AmyG I also agree with @RaeLovestoRead. I think the learning of language to communicate bonded the two. Before the words they both had to rely on “non-words”….body and facial language. Knowledge of that first truly connected them….there was an intimacy there. They could read each other well before John even learned the language. 1w
kspenmoll @AmyG Yes, agree with all- non- verbal body language began their bond. The words/ meaning John collected satisfied his natural curiosity & love of language/translation. This did interest me but I agree, not a central theme. 1w
DGRachel As many have said, I don‘t really see the novel as a love letter to language, although I can see a point being made for a reflection of the author‘s love for languages. I think the struggle to communicate and the effort John and Ivar went through to communicate definitely increased the intimacy between the two. 1w
JenReadsAlot I think their non verbal communication to start understanding each other was powerful. 1w
Chelsea.Poole @willaful I was bracing myself for that! Something to happen to Mary that is. I was actually delighted that this book ended so happily. 1w
Chelsea.Poole I can see why a reviewer would point out the emphasis on language in this novel. But I do agree with many who think Ivar and John had a connection regardless. 1w
mcctrish @willaful I agree that I felt a strong sense of foreboding in the beginning but for John at Ivar‘s hands or both when the ship came back ( Ivar was certainly expendable so tossing John in with him doesn‘t seem a stretch to me as far as Lowrie was concerned) 1w
mcctrish I think I do agree it‘s a love letter to language - yes Ivar and John can communicate non-verbally but John‘s methodical, list making attempt to understand Ivar‘s language shows intent to learn and document it and Ivar. For John it‘s just his way of understanding and sorting an unknown but for Ivar it‘s being valued, seen and accepted. Language in current times is being used the opposite way. 1w
peaKnit I think learning one another‘s language showed the curiosity they had in one another, like any two people showing that deep interest in the beginnings of a relationship. Some learn lived experiences and in this case they show that spark through learning to communicate. 1w
Megabooks @RaeLovesToRead that‘s a great point. I felt the verbal communication between the two happened more quickly than it likely would‘ve irl. @Soubhiville it seemed like a love project in studying that old language. @amyg agree that communication by gesture has an intimacy to it. @kspenmoll I love the curiosity and wonder both showed towards each other. 1w
Megabooks @peaKnit I think the interpersonal and intellectual curiosity between the two was one of the best parts of the book! 1w
CogsOfEncouragement I did find it interesting that John brought his work with him when he really should not have brought it to such a place, and it was all washed away. Literally. He then used the same paper to learn Ivar's language. One work of translation was erased and the same paper was used for translation of another language. 1w
sarahbarnes I agree with what many here have said, in that John and Ivar had a strong nonverbal connection regardless of language. I also agree that it put them on more equal footing for John to try to learn Ivar‘s language @BarbaraBB - it showed vulnerability on John‘s part and a respect for and interest in Ivar (even if initially it was in order to be able to deliver the terrible news). 1w
JamieArc While I agree about the non-verbal connection, I can see how this is a love letter to language. I feel like it was this interest in language, and the nuances, that deepened their time with one another. But I‘m a language person, and reading the meanings of the words, just how many words there are for different types of most, was fascinating and endeared me to Ivar‘s world. 1w
JamieArc @CogsOfEncouragement I thought this was interesting too. There‘s a literary word for when this happens: palimpsest. The scraping or washing away of words on a document to make room for other words. I thought about this a lot while reading the story. 1w
Kitta @JamieArc that‘s a wonderful word! 7d
Kitta @Megabooks agreed about the pace at which Ivar learned English, it seemed incredibly fast to me as someone trying to learn a second language. It takes a lot of repetition and my brain often feel too full to continue sometimes haha 7d
Kitta @Megabooks I also read the tagged after this, which includes a woman learning English quickly (though not as quickly as Ivar) which was an interesting juxtaposition. Her grammar was all wrong, but she was understandable quite quickly. I wonder how long it was that he was with Ivar? I can‘t get a sense of the timeline although I know it was mentioned. (edited) 7d
TheBookHippie One, survival makes you learn a language more quickly as does being dropped somewhere and you must communicate -so the time it took didn‘t seem off to me as I‘ve seen it and experienced it IRL. My first experience walking beside Pakistani kids who had come from a refuge camp in Afghanistan I switched to Spanish without realizing it I wanted to communicate so badly. Fun fact it was Yiddish they knew besides Farsi 🤯 .. ⬇️ 7d
TheBookHippie ⬆️ I didn‘t see it as a love letter to language but I see how one would think that. The non verbal and the time spent intimately and what that does/did and the reasoning for them being in that position in the first place and one being of the church was more fascinating to me personally. 7d
dabbe I saw the term “language“ as being both nonverbal and verbal, a semiosis where ANY form of activity is used to produce meaning to one another. Once John and Ivar moved past just the symbols and signing to one another, then the learning of the actual words began. It reminded me of the ancient cave paintings on the wall as the beginning of understanding one another to the actual forming of words. John and Ivar simulated that same process to me. 7d
Meshell1313 @CogsOfEncouragement I love this point! His work is still about translation. His important documents didn‘t matter anymore and instead the paper was used to make stronger connections in a place where rules and laws are non existent. 7d
JamieArc @dabbe Yes, I agree that language here is more than just words. 7d
dabbe @JamieArc 💚💙💚 7d
Megabooks @Kitta interesting! I have Sweet Sting on my shelf, and now I want to pick it up soon. I think the timeline was weeks, and I know some people can pick up language quickly, but Ivar, as an adult who had only spoken one language previously, would presumably take a bit more time to master it just from a brain development standpoint. But each of us is unique so who knows! 7d
Suet624 I saw it as a love letter to love. 7d
youneverarrived It‘s Naomi‘s birthday today so haven‘t been able to join in but I‘ll catch up when I get the chance 🩵 7d
BookWrym For me the discovery of language and building communication was the best part of the book. I liked the slow pacing that matched the setting completely. 7d
willaful @Chelsea.Poole Oh, I absolutely was too! 7d
willaful @mcctrish I felt foreboding all around! But it was a little too deliberate around Mary at the end. I don't really mind though. 7d
GatheringBooks I love how it is framed as a “love letter to language” - it seems apt. Admittedly the glossary at the end with so many terms intimidated me a little bit and i thought it would be cumbersome to read but it wasn‘t. I agree with what @Megabooks says about the intimacy of “communication by gesture”. For me it was the nuance of the language that rendered the sensations evoked immutable and heightened the connection between two lonely people. 7d
squirrelbrain Great point @RaeLovesToRead and @dabbe about the non-verbal communication! 7d
squirrelbrain @JamieArc - I love the word palimpsest - thanks for highlighting it in this context! 7d
dabbe @squirrelbrain 💚💙💚 7d
DebinHawaii @JamieArc I think palimpsest may be a new favorite word! 💛 Beautiful. I agree that while I didn‘t read it thinking of it as a love letter to language, language both verbal & non-verbal played an important role & helped forge the intimacy. I loved the glossary & all the different words & took pictures of my library e-book. (I may have to buy a copy just for that). I think “nombrastom” (very thick mist) is my favorite. 🤗 7d
monalyisha @Suet624 I saw it as a love letter to place! I think it‘s fascinating to think about how deeply language is tied to place. What‘s happening to our own language as we so thoroughly lose our connection to place? How does “virtual” place (online) tie into this discussion? 7d
monalyisha I absolutely agree that the book is a “love letter to the power of language.” However, the word “scorching” has no place in the Scottish Highlands! We learned the words for “a big, heavy, snow-laden cloud”, “a dark cloud in frosty weather”, “a cold northerly wind”, “a cold, keen wind,” etc. “Scorching?!” Get right outta here with that misplaced adjective! 😅 7d
Suet624 @monalyisha …a love letter to place. Yup! I agree. 7d
Daisey @CogsOfEncouragement This is a really great point to emphasize about John‘s work with translation. 7d
Daisey I agree with @monalyisha that it seems to be more a love letter to place. I do see it as expressing love of language, but more in the way of love and value of the uniqueness of each language more than the power of language in general. 7d
CBee @Chelsea.Poole I was very worried and then, that beautiful ending ♥️♥️ 7d
Chelsea.Poole @monalyisha great point about the relationship of language and place! 7d
Chelsea.Poole @CBee my cynical heart was happy. 😊 7d
CBee @Chelsea.Poole yesssss I understand 100% 😂😂♥️♥️ 7d
BarbaraBB I love your point @CogsOfEncouragement 7d
BarbaraBB @youneverarrived congrats on Naomi 🩵 7d
BarbaraBB @Soubhiville Yes to your remark about the author being more interested in learning an old language than we! 7d
BarbaraBB @TheBookHippie I can see how that‘d work. A beautiful example 💖 7d
BarbaraBB @willaful The foreboding was everywhere indeed. The power of language 😀 7d
Maggie4483 I'm late to the party, but I have to agree with @willaful - while part of me appreciated the happy(ish) ending, the false foreshadowing made it feel very anti-climatic.
And I think the author intended it to be a love letter to language, especially after reading the author's note. But while that may be the seed the story grew from, I think it evolved into something else.
Roary47 I'm with you @maggie4483 in being a little late. Everyone made excellent points. I think it is a love letter of language as many of you noted the author really had a passion in bringing this old language back into light through this book. There is something powerful in communication. My mother is extremely hard of hearing and because she cannot hear verbally she feels isolated and often angry. As John learned Ivar's words Ivar seemed happier. 5d
Roary47 @willaful I too felt cheated (even though I liked that it was a happy ending) that nothing extreme happened to the characters. However, I also feel after reading the authors note that the loss of Ivar's home because he was being forced to leave, and leaving the poor blind animal to fend for itself was really depressing as I likely would have felt if a character died. 5d
BarbaraBB @Roary47 That comparison is quite fitting indeed. My mother is hard of hearing too and feels the same. I can very much see how feeling ‘heard‘ makes Ivar happy. 5d
BarbaraBB @Roary47 In the end the ending wasn‘t as happy as it seemed I think. I loved that about the book and what the author did! 5d
youneverarrived To learn each other‘s language was a form of mutual respect I think. It helped their relationship form beyond gestures etc. so I feel like it was an important part of their relationship. It did feel to me like a love letter to language - I listened to it on audible so maybe that made it more prominent. 2d
Caryl @youneverarrived - Good point about showing their mutual respect for each other by learning each other's words. The audiobook just came in for me from my library, so I think I'll listen/reread it. I'd love to hear how the words are pronounced. 2d
Caryl @CogsOfEncouragement and @JamieArc - I didn't catch onto the beautiful significance of John losing his translation work, and then using those pages to work with Ivar's words and his language learning. Thank you for mentioning that, and the word “palimpsest,“ which is the name of this graphic memoir I loved and was my first encounter with this beautiful word. 2d
Caryl @monalyisha - All of Ivar's words that John was learning definitely helped me understand the setting. I loved that about this book. And I was puzzled by the use of “scorching“ as well -- misplaced adjective, indeed! 😄 2d
44 likes82 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I loved this #CampLitsy pick. What a beautiful story. Can‘t wait to discuss the second half. 🩵

kspenmoll Me too 🩵💙💛 1w
squirrelbrain Looking forward to the discussion too! 1w
BarbaraBB So glad you loved it 1w
40 likes3 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Great choice #CampLitsy! I really liked this. Looking forward to the discussion this weekend.

I have Davies‘ first book, West, on my shelf. Picked it up in a used bookstore in the last couple years. So I‘m moving it onto my #bookspin shelf to read soonish. ☺️

I found the ending a bit surprising. I don‘t want to give anything away, but did others? If you comment use the spoiler button.

Good morning from Venkman 🐈‍⬛🩷.

Soubhiville I was expecting Ivar to refuse to go or John to stay with him, or a death… I was very happy with the way it ended. (Don‘t forget the spoiler button!) 1w
ElizaMarie I think I am in love with Venkman! 1w
mcctrish The whole time I was reading I knew something was running beneath the surface but based on my inner demon I was leaning towards slaughter mostly 🤣🤦🏻‍♀️ 1w
See All 9 Comments
AmyG I did….but yet was not surprised. 1w
sarahbarnes I loved this one too and now want to read more by her. 1w
dabbe 🖤🐾🖤 1w
BarbaraBB Yes that ending! We‘ll discuss it on Saturday! 1w
Texreader Very surprising! 1w
Hooked_on_books I was surprised by the ending but absolutely loved it. 1w
63 likes9 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Librarybelle I‘m seeing so much love for this one. I think I‘ll have to stack it! (edited) 1w
Graciouswarriorprincess I posted my review yesterday. So good! 1w
Megabooks So glad you loved it!! 1w
squirrelbrain Glad you enjoyed it! 1w
BarbaraBB Glad you‘re a fan too! 1w
44 likes1 stack add5 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I thought this #CampLitsy24 pick would be my kind of read, and it did not disappoint. A beautiful, quiet story about connection and humanity. In her spare prose, Davies created a richly textured world on this remote windswept island. I can't wait to discuss the second half this weekend with my fellow campers!

Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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What a lovely story written about three lonely people. The prose is breathtaking and the surprise ending about love is so sincere and heartfelt.


Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I had to listen to the first half of this twice and read the week one #CampLitsy discussion just to figure out what was going on. Then finally the second half clicked and I loved it. Can‘t wait to discuss the ending this weekend! @Megabooks @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain

Megabooks This is one I would‘ve found challenging on audio, so I‘m glad you stuck with it! See you at camp! 2w
Bookwormjillk @Megabooks yes there were parts that felt like they went in one ear and out the other 2w
BarbaraBB I read it in print but the second part went so much faster than the first! 1w
Roary47 I feel the same way right now. 1w
squirrelbrain I agree @Megabooks - I think I‘d have found it challenging on audio too. 1w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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OMG 😳 THANK YOU!!! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

There‘s NO NOTE 😫

BarbaraBB This is so wonderful! No need to wait any longer for your library book! 2w
TheBookHippie @BarbaraBB I‘m so excited! Went to library today- NO HOLDS IN! This is so sweet! 2w
squirrelbrain Oh, how lovely! ❤️ 2w
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Megabooks Fantastic! Enjoy! 2w
kspenmoll Christine, I had so many points this was free. I knew you had to read it- just adored this book for a multitude of reasons-❤️ In thanks for all you do on Litsy & in life. (edited) 1w
TheBookHippie @kspenmoll AWE. Thank you so much!!!! 🩵🩵🩵🩵🩵 1w
61 likes6 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Just finished the audiobook read by Russ Bain. Fantastic voice, fantastic read set in a time I had not read of before, the Scottish clearances of the 1840s. The three main characters pulled me right in to this distant world. I would have loved even more of Mary and that ending—whoa. It‘ll be a great #CampLitsy discussion!

BarbaraBB I think so too - about the discussion I mean and especially the ending! 2w
squirrelbrain Looking forward to further discussions next weekend! 2w
Megabooks Really curious what everyone will say about the ending! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I very much enjoyed this short, quiet novel. Ivar, the lone survivor on a small Scottish island, finds an injured stranger, nurses him back to health and eventually learns the reason the stranger is on his island. 4.5 🌟

I look forward to #CampLitsy24 discussion next Saturday. @squirrelbrain @Megabooks @BarbaraBB

squirrelbrain Glad you enjoyed it - we chose well! 😃 (edited) 2w
Megabooks Yay! Glad you loved it. Good book to start camp! 2w
BarbaraBB Glad you loved it. I agree it has been a great one to start Camp with. 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Read4life 💙💙💙 2w
Megabooks It was so good! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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The weather is delightful today. I‘ve finished my walk, and now I‘m just going to sit on the patio and read until myspouse gets home or I finish the book. #hyygehourreadathon

Chrissyreadit ☀️💛☀️💛 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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So happy this one finally came in for me at the library! Halfway through, and looking forward to reading the #CampLitsy24 posts about it.

Ruthiella I got a late start on this one too. But it is short and pretty easy to read. 🤞 2w
Caryl @Ruthiella, glad you're reading it, too! I'm really enjoying it. 😊 2w
BarbaraBB Thank you for joining the discussion. You raised such insightful points! 2w
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Megabooks Yay!! 🎉🎉 2w
Caryl @BarbaraBB, thank you for leading this #CampLitsy24 discussion! I just finished reading the book and I‘m looking forward to the questions you post on the 15th. 1w
BarbaraBB Me too! I‘ll probably post a bit later Saturday, but I will post!! 1w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
This post contains spoilers
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Poor preacher John Ferguson decides to make some money by helping a landlord evict Ivar from the island he‘s lived on his entire life. When John is shipwrecked and injured, Ivar nurses him back to health and teaches John his language. Meanwhile John‘s wife decides something has gone wrong, sells her wedding ring, and sets out to fetch him. There are many ways this book could have gone and I wasn‘t keen on the direction it took. I also struggled ⬇️

Texreader with the audiobook and the sequence of events being mixed up. Normally it doesn‘t bother me, but sometimes I struggled with the narrator‘s accent causing me to struggle more with the sequence. Once I got used to the narrator, whose accent was lovely even if I didn‘t always understand him, it was fine. Lovely descriptions and Mary was so sweet. I also loved Peggy the horse, the blind cow, and even the sheep. #camplitsy24 @Megabooks @squirrelbrain (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB I didn‘t mind the sequence of events because it is a rather quiet book that made me read it slowly. So I can indeed imagine the audiobook being not the right medium to read this book. 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I‘m so happy we started off #CampLitsy24 with this novel. I loved the lone inhabitant of a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, Ivar. Conflict arises when a down on his luck preacher turns up on the island to “clear” it. I loved the symbolism and the setting. 🫖
Language and words make connections.
This felt like a mix of two books I read and loved which I‘ll tag in the comments below. ⬇️

Chelsea.Poole Language, isolated community 2w
Megabooks Great review! 2w
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JamieArc It has me thinking a lot about The Colony as well. 2w
BarbaraBB I read both too. I don‘t remember much about An Island but I loved The Colony even more than this one! 2w
squirrelbrain Great picture! It reminded me of both of those books too and, like @BarbaraBB, I adored The Colony. I recently read Whale Fall too, which reminded me even more of The Colony, but not as good. 2w
Hooked_on_books Your picture is perfect! 2w
93 likes7 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Question 3 of 3

Our final question for today. While we‘re enjoying Camp and discussing books, life took over for @batsy and @Suzze and @Suet624 . They are not here for now but know that we‘re thinking of you and sending love!

We‘ll continue next week with the second half (and ending 😉) of Clear!

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Leniverse I wondered at that. I don't think Strachan is the best person to rely on for evaluating other people. He clearly doesn't have a high opinion of labourers, tenants, or women. Ivar strikes me as a simple soul, without necessarily being "simple". I mean, he has survived alone for, was it 12 years? He's clearly capable. 2w
BarbaraBB It‘s so easy and even predictable for Strachan to say that. But Ivar seems like a sensible person to me, being able to survive all those years yet lacking any intellectual stimulation. (edited) 2w
Megabooks @Leniverse good point that he‘s a survivor. I think Strachan under appreciates and probably looks down quite a bit on Ivar. Strachan strikes me as only seeing his own best qualities as valuable. 2w
sarahbarnes I think he‘s less an idiot and more stubborn and not interested in a life away from the island. Sending you love @Suet624 @batsy @Suzze ♥️♥️ (edited) 2w
JamieArc I was wondering this, if there is some cognitive impairment, but from what we get from Ivar, I don‘t see it. I think he just has a different, simpler way of existing in the world. I agree that Stachan is not who I would rely on for an accurate evaluation of a person. 2w
Kitta I think the language barrier probably plays a role, along with Ivar preferring a pastoral life, not interested in making money or doing the things Strachan sees as desirable/valuable. Strachan can‘t see the value in this kind of life and therefore assumes Ivar is incapable of functioning in Strachan‘s world. 2w
TrishB Just because people prefer a different life style, doesn‘t make them idiots. As Leni says he‘s been alone and survived for 12 years! 2w
Nessavamusic I think it is just that far to often assumptions that different means lesser. Which is only slowly changing in human opinions. 2w
squirrelbrain @JamieArc - when Strachan first made the comment I thought there may be a cognitive impairment too, but you really don‘t see it. @Leniverse - I agree that Strachan isn‘t the best person to rely on. He struck me as having an over-inflated sense of his own importance, and looks down on nearly everyone. 2w
Oryx I think he, and many people, see people who live differently as simple, or that they have something wrong with them. 2w
peaKnit I think Ivar was simple not necessary limited, his lifestyle could certainly stump a more worldly person for sure. But doesn‘t it sound lovely to steal away to an island, maybe just briefly?☺️ 2w
CogsOfEncouragement I‘ve been waiting to gather more info from John‘s observations on this. I‘ve been holding off on a judgement. 2w
Jas16 I think the comment tells us more about Strachan than it does Ivar 2w
CBee My impression of Strachan is that he‘s a small man who looks down on anyone who doesn‘t have his elevated “status.” He‘s a jerk 🤷‍♀️😂 I like Ivar very much! 2w
peaKnit @Jas16 yes! 2w
mcctrish I think the only thing Ivar might be is socially awkward due to language and lack of socialization, @CBee @Jas16 @Kitta are all right that the comment says more about Strachan than Ivar 2w
JenReadsAlot @TrishB exactly! 2w
Deblovestoread I think Strachan knows very little about Ivar and used the terminology to make the task seem easier to John and if he‘s wrong here‘s a gun just in case. He obviously thinks little of the lower class and what happens to Ivar after is insignificant. 2w
DGRachel Everyone else has covered this so well - simple doesn‘t equal cognitive impairment. Strachan is a petty man who degrades others to make himself look or feel important and superior. Ivar has different values and since they don‘t revolve around money, Strachan cannot comprehend them. 2w
Karisa @mcctrish Yes! Agreed. Ivar has a different language, socialization, and priorities to Strachan but it doesn‘t make him less than. @cbee I like him too! He‘s honest, strong, and steady. 2w
TheKidUpstairs I think Strachan sees a man who lives a different life than himself, and who speaks a doesn't language and equates those things with "simple" and "idiotic" It's like so many colonizers looked at indigenous populations as "barbaric." Ivar doesn't live or speak as Strachan or his contemporaries do, and therefore he must be less than. Ivar does live a simple life, but as many have stated that doesn't mean he is in any way impaired. 2w
Meshell1313 @peaKnit I totally agree! That‘s my thoughts exactly- someone more “worldly” might look down at Ivar‘s simple life with lack of luxuries! And an island all to myself sounds like paradise! 2w
squirrelbrain @CBee - definitely a jerk! 🤣 2w
RaeLovesToRead No. And you have to have incredible survival skills to manage on an island by yourself for so many years. I suspect Strachan has to look down on Ivar, otherwise it wouldn't be as easy to eject him from the land and replace him with sheep. 2w
RaeLovesToRead @Meshell1313 It's funny you say it sounds like paradise... when I was reading I was thinking how much I l'd hate it... the food, the cold, the lack of amenities... I wouldn't survive a day 🤣 2w
willaful @RaeLovesToRead @Meshell1313 Yes, I'll take the deserted island with the warm sun and the hidden servants who provide everything you want. 😂 2w
dabbe @Deblovestoread That's how I saw it, too--as a class issue where Strachan clearly sees himself in a more flattering light and thinks anyone who'd stay alone on an island must be an idiot. Or maybe I'm giving the jerk Strachan too much credit for being able to think at all. 😀 2w
BookWrym No he doesn‘t come across that way to me he is living and supporting himself with limited resources and he understands the need to care for John. I would say simple in that he lives a simplistic life not that there is any impairment. 2w
kspenmoll No, agree with you all. He could not survive the way he has if he was an “ idiot” That is a sign of the times to see someone uneducated or living the land as “ less than”- felt he saw his as a beast,non human. 2w
Karisa Reading through everyone‘s ideas, it‘s making me realize that Ivar and John are both “true believers” in a way. When someone like Strachen doesn‘t share the same blind devotion, it can feel like the other is being idiotic. Ivar‘s devotion is to the place and way of life found there. It feels like he‘s the one actually converting John to his belief in a deep appreciation of this place 2w
Maggie4483 There was never any point when reading the chapters from Ivan‘s POV where I got the impression that he had any kind of intellectual impairment. But, speaking from personal experience, people tend to underestimate the intelligence of quiet people in general. Add in a language barrier and unconventional way of life, and I can see why someone (especially an elitist like Strachan) would jump to that conclusion. 2w
BkClubCare @squirrelbrain @Jas16 - Stracken is a jerk! Worse words come to mind, actually. But let‘s look at this from both John‘s impressions/ initial expectations AND what the author wants us as readers to bring to the unfolding! Very clever way to start introducing us to what is really going on here. I, too, thought John would be encountering a simpleton. Shame on me. 2w
Chelsea.Poole The language barrier undoubtedly played a role in Strachan‘s opinion of Ivar. I‘m he had a little curiosity, unlike John, in learning/translating his language. It‘s much easier (and more asshole-ish) to count someone out as ignorant than to work to get to know them. I‘m sure he has little interest in anyone or anything if it‘s not something lining his pockets. (edited) 2w
Hooked_on_books @Jas16 Exactly! You nailed it! Strachan is a jackass. His attitude reminds me of how (too) many people think of migrants in our current era. Plus, you can only truly diminish someone into a pawn or worse if you first “other” them. And @Karisa I like your true believers thought. This hasn‘t struck me and it‘s an interesting viewpoint. Though it could be argued that Strachan is a true believer in money. 2w
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole yes! 💯💯 2w
LeeRHarry It‘s that age old I don‘t understand your language, history or the way you live your life, it‘s different so it must be inferior to mine - if Strachan was able to look at himself in the mirror he‘d find that he was the idiot not Ivar. (edited) 2w
Karisa @Hooked_on_books That‘s so true! Each of the men believe in something different and that‘s their main focus. What about Mary? She seems to be different/more modern and is important to two of them 2w
Soubhiville @Jas16 I think you said it perfectly as well. 2w
squirrelbrain @LeeRHarry - definitely! 2w
squirrelbrain I love that @Karisa , about them both being true believers - beautiful! 2w
AmyG Strachan didn‘t understand Ivar as a person…they were completely different. Hence his arrogance and judgemental attitude…he calls him an idiot. Basically Strachan is an assh***. 2w
Ruthiella Just finished the first half today and am now reading the discussions. Great questions and such thoughtful responses. 😃 2w
youneverarrived Just echoing what others have said - Strachan is the type of person who is narrow minded and equates worth with ambition, wealth etc and because Ivar lives by different values it‘s too easy for Strachan to dismiss him by saying that about him. 2w
Caryl Another great question, with lots of great answers here! Strachan is definitely trying to set up John Ferguson's expectations. I'm not sure Strachan really believes what he tells John about Ivar; I think he's the kind of guy who'd be comfortable lying to get what he wants. @BkClubCare -- I love what you said about the author's awareness of what to reveal to readers and when. She's piecing the story together for us beautifully! 2w
Roary47 You all took the words right out of my mouth. He‘s has a different lifestyle and motivations. That does not mean he‘s unintelligent. 2w
BarbaraBB @Caryl I hadn‘t thought of that but you‘re right; Strachan could well have been lying 2w
julieclair Well put, @BookWrym ! 2w
GatheringBooks Loved reading all these, even if I am exceedingly late to camp. One evidence of Ivar‘s “intelligence” is his capacity to use language to describe the subtlest nature of everyday life, as he taught John the nuances of his language. Such exquisite attention to detail, it‘s borderline poetic! 2w
BarbaraBB @GatheringBooks That is so true!! 💯 2w
Bookbuyingaddict @youneverarrived 👏🏻totally agree . 1w
monalyisha Just saying hi! I‘m here and reading through. I hadn‘t realized how long it‘s been (over a decade) since I‘ve been asked to have a discussion about a book *before* finishing it! I‘ve been in a book club since 2012 but haven‘t been in school in a long while. It feels so immediately uncomfortable to comment on something/anything without having all of the information that‘s provided by the full narrative at my disposal. Having a very meta moment! 😅 1w
BarbaraBB @monalyisha Tomorrow we‘ll be discussing all of the book 😀 1w
49 likes60 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Question 2 of 3

Not sure if you have arrived at Camp yet @Soubhiville but have a wonderful birthday! We‘ll celebrate around the camp fire tonight 🧡

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Megabooks Happy birthday @Soubhiville !! Enjoy your day!! 🎉🎉 2w
DGRachel Happy Birthday @Soubhiville 🥳 2w
sarahbarnes Happy Birthday @Soubhiville! I‘ve been thinking about this too. I wonder if it also has something to do with his loneliness. Maybe he expects John to leave like everyone else and he wants to be able to keep the picture so he has someone with him. 2w
Graciouswarriorprincess Happy birthday @Soubhiville ! 🎉🎂🎈 2w
Kitta I would guess because he wanted to keep it for himself subconsciously. Or because He doesn‘t want to think about John having a wife. (edited) 2w
Megabooks Maybe he wants John to live in the present moment with him on the island. Since he was so lonely, maybe he wanted all the attention on himself. 2w
Leniverse At first he hid the picture because he didn't want to lose his fantasy of her by giving her back to John. But John is there in the flesh, which makes him better company. Ivar is so starved for companionship that the picture, the idea of Mary as someone John has a connection to, becomes a threat. John is all the human company he has, and he wants to be all that John has. 2w
DGRachel This was odd to me. Doesn‘t he say that he hides her because he doesn‘t want to share her with John, like Mary belongs to him now, and as he gets to know John, he feels like he would lose John‘s attention if he gives the picture back? 2w
sarahbarnes I think you‘re right @Kitta @Megabooks @Leniverse that he doesn‘t want John to think of her or focus on the picture instead of Ivar. That he wants all of John‘s attention, and perhaps irrationally thinks he can keep him there that way. 2w
BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes @Kitta @Megabooks @Leniverse I didn‘t think of that at that moment. My simple me thought he never met a woman himself except family and he just wanted one for himself - even though she was just a fantasy. 2w
JamieArc I also think it‘s about forming a connection that he doesn‘t want to lose and wants to keep to himself. Super interested in seeing where the story goes… 2w
Nessavamusic Unconscious jealousy perhaps? He has this friend/maybe more and he doesn‘t want to lose him to his life off the island 2w
TrishB I think he doesn‘t want share- but also maybe that he wants a singular relationship at that point with John and the picture is a distraction 🤷‍♀️ 2w
Kitta @BarbaraBB while that‘s true, he hasn‘t met many, if any, other women - why hide the cenotaph? He could‘ve deduced that it belonged to John, given how it was found, and I think that the fact that he stopped thinking about it after talking to John suggests at first he didn‘t want to lose it, then he didn‘t want John to find it and remember his old life. Just my thoughts though. 😆 2w
BarbaraBB @Kitta I think you‘re right. After he met John he became the companion he looked for in Mary and then he didn‘t want to share John with Mary. How human 😀 @TrishB (edited) 2w
squirrelbrain Happy Birthday @soubhiville! I thought at first that Ivar was attracted to Mary, and didn‘t even realise that she was important to John. But then, it did seem that he was trying to keep her away from John. 2w
Oryx I think he initially didn't want to share, but then maybe as the relationship with John grew, he didn't want to remind him of another life. Talking about the picture might break the spell. 2w
BarbaraBB @Oryx Break the spell. I think that‘s exactly it! 2w
peaKnit @Oryx I agree. At first I thought he wanted to keep Mary to himself but then I realized he didn‘t want John to long to go away and hiding that picture seemed simple for Ivar, out of sight out of mind. 2w
Karisa It‘s so human to want to keep something that reminds us of others and entertain. Photos must have been such a novelty then and without access to media, I can‘t imagine the solitude! The photo thing made me a little sad for them both and for Mary too. Why wouldn‘t John bring her? She seemed ready for an adventure. 2w
CBee Don‘t have much to add 😊 Agree with everyone! 2w
mcctrish I‘m with @CBee and @DGRachel I thought initially the combination of the interesting style of photo and Mary is an attractive woman that Ivar wanted it for himself #prettythings like the teapot, there are no luxuries on the island but also by not showing John ( it wasn‘t really hidden) it doesn‘t fuel John‘s desire to leave 2w
JenReadsAlot I agree with the comments already made! 2w
Deblovestoread The novelty of the photo was really interesting. It is easy to assume Ivar had never seen one before and it captivated him immediately. The only thing more captivating was a live person, photo might spoil that so needed to be hidden away. 2w
Meshell1313 I loved this- jealousy and collecting beautiful things maybe? I saw it as if John is reminded of her he‘ll always be trying to leave and get back to her. Ivar wants John to forget her and stay with him. 2w
BarbaraBB @mcctrish I love your comparison to the teapot. He wanted to cherish beautiful things and the teapot even made it to the cover of the US edition - it must mean something 🫖 2w
Megabooks @Oryx great point about not wanting John to remember another life. 2w
Megabooks @mcctrish I know! That broke my heart how he had to hide any nice thing on the island. He seems to have lost so much. I don‘t think he could bear to lose more. 2w
RaeLovesToRead I don't think he fully knew why he did it and I think his reasons changed as their relationship developed. 2w
squirrelbrain @karisa - it made me sad too. I think probably John couldn‘t bring Mary as ‘society‘ would have frowned on it. (Or maybe John himself was too traditional to consider it as Mary seemed to push through societal norms when she decided to go by herself) 2w
TheKidUpstairs @RaeLovesToRead I totally agree. I think it was a mystery to him. Kind of like the other quote we're discussing, how he didn't know the depth of his solitude until John came, I think he's only starting to explore the reasons for taking and hiding the picture. I think the two are connected. The picture and John are the first two connections he's felt with people since his family passed/left, so a part of himself that he hasn't explored is awakening 2w
dabbe Could it be too that it was simpler to hide the picture than to try to explain to John (where language is still a barrier) why he kept it in the first place? Maybe he fears John will not understand or be angry with him and that he would then take the picture and leave and Ivar would be left with neither the picture or John in complete solitude again--only now it truly would be a lonely one. 2w
kspenmoll @mcctrish Agree with you on both counts- so few pretty things in his life & he certainly would not want John to leave- he realizes the woman means something special to John, someone to go back to. 2w
Maggie4483 Maybe Ivar realizes that he‘s the “third wheel,” that John and Mary have a much stronger bond than he will ever have with either of them, so he is trying to keep them separate. 2w
BkClubCare Excellent points, I agree. Especially the subconscious jealousy and once hidden, how to explain WHY when language communication is difficult AND I think there is guilt, uncomfortable feelings, and not wanting to confront even within Ivar‘s own self. 2w
Hooked_on_books I‘m with @mcctrish —well put! I didn‘t get any sense of jealousy or of him trying to keel John and Mary apart. He knows nothing of their relationship other than that she‘s probably special to him (she could be his sister or mother, after all), but for Ivar the photo is a luxury in and of itself. 2w
Chelsea.Poole Everyone has such great points here! My heart grew like 5 sizes for Ivar when he found that photo of Mary. Can you imagine how that would feel—to see a human face after so many years without seeing another soul?? Even if it‘s not a living, breathing person, just the reminder that others are out there is something to cherish. I think I would hold on to that photo too, in Ivar‘s position. 2w
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole that is true that he hadn‘t seen another soul in any way in years. I think that‘s hard to understand in current times. Just in this room, I have all your photos on this thread and Top Chef on the TV. We are saturated in images now!! 2w
dabbe @mcctrish 💙💚💙 2w
LeeRHarry Great comments! 😊 I don‘t think I have anything to add. Just that I think that why Ivar hid the photo changed as time went on; from keeping Mary to himself, wanting to keep John to himself and then possible guilt that he had it and had hidden it in the first place. 2w
CarolynM I think @Leniverse has hit the nail on the head. 2w
Soubhiville Thanks for the birthday wishes @BarbaraBB ! I spent the day hiking so I‘m just arriving now😁. 2w
Soubhiville Everyone has said exactly what I thought- at first he felt the picture was the best thing he had, then he begins to feel John is the best thing in his life. 2w
AmyG I saw him hiding her picture perhaps out of shame. Shame that he had it, not wanting to explain why he had it and didn‘t return it, perhaps shame that he had feelings for a man. 2w
GatheringBooks Happiest of birthdays, @Soubhiville - sorry for being a day late to camp!!! 2w
GatheringBooks Love reading all the thoughts here - i agree most with @BarbaraBB with the fantasy bit. I think it was just human nature to want to keep something that brings you life and beauty - light to his drab and lonely existence. 2w
youneverarrived I thought the same as @dabbe 2w
Caryl So many great thoughts here! I agree that it's a bit of a mystery, even to Ivar himself. Like @dabbe shared, I think Ivar felt uncomfortable about giving John the photo now, after John's gone through his own things and not found it there. I love how much this photo adds to the story, not only giving us an understanding of the time period and insight into character relationships, but also nudging the narrative to John and Mary's backstory. 2w
dabbe @youneverarrived 🤩😀🤗 2w
dabbe @Caryl Love how you worded this, especially this part: “nudging the narrative“. 💚💙💚 2w
Caryl Thank you, @dabbe 😊 2w
Roary47 I was thinking along the same lines as @Megabooks where he wants John and himself to live if the present moment. The picture could remind John that he should eventually head back and like @Leniverse said it‘s better to have someone physically there than a picture. Everyone has such great thoughts. I‘m excited to continue reading with you all through camp. 🥰 2w
julieclair Excellent thoughts! 2w
Bookbuyingaddict @Chelsea.Poole totally agree ☺️and beautifully said . He almost became mesmerised by the photo - I wondered if Mary was the only other woman he‘d ever seen not his grandmother , mother or sister . All excellent comments 🙂 @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain 1w
squirrelbrain Good point @Bookbuyingaddict that he‘d maybe never seen another woman other than family. 1w
BarbaraBB @Bookbuyingaddict COVID… Will it ever stop? Glad you‘re feeling better and stepped by ❤️ 1w
51 likes64 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Question 1 of 3

Here we go! We‘d love to hear your thoughts on Clear. Please be respectful to each other and no spoilers please about the second half: we‘ll get there next week! Have fun camping and chatting ☀️ 🏕️ 📚

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Megabooks I find this particularly interesting because he did have family there before. I think it‘s a testament to how new ideas/new sensations can energize a person. I don‘t think he felt intellectually or maybe emotionally stimulated until John arrived. 2w
Leniverse I thought that was a really telling comment. He had been alone for so long he had forgotten what it was like to have company. The hunters and travellers that had briefly visited had felt like an invasive disruption, but having someone stranded there reminded him of having family. 2w
DGRachel I think it‘s like coming out of Covid lockdown. I now WFH full time and rarely leave the house. I thought I was fine with this new normal, as I can order nearly anything online. I started going out on the weekends a month ago and it was both weird and wonderful. I hadn‘t really thought of myself as lonely, but interacting with strangers made me realize how untrue that was. 2w
Graciouswarriorprincess I think it‘s because you don‘t realize how lonely you are when you are alone but then someone comes into your life. And that‘s when you realize the loneliness. 2w
BarbaraBB @DGRachel That is a great comparison I think - and so true. And I am happy for you making this discovery too 2w
BarbaraBB @Megabooks @Leniverse @Graciouswarriorprincess I agree with all of you. He just forgot about how life could be with others. Meeting John stimulates him indeed and gave him a new perspective on his own life I think 2w
JamieArc This conversation is interesting because it seems like solitude is being equated with loneliness, and I don‘t see them as the same… are we saying he didn‘t realize his loneliness until JF arrived? 2w
Kitta I was thinking about how you can feel more aware of your loneliness around other people, like it shows you what you‘ve been missing. I think Ivar has been existing without really living. 2w
Nessavamusic I think I agree with @JamieArc, Ivar was just surviving day to day until John visits. He is actually noticed for the first time in a long time, if maybe ever, which gives him a new viewpoint of the necessity of human interaction. 2w
BarbaraBB @JamieArc to me as a no native English speaker I can‘t really explain the difference between the words. They feel the same to me but in other words I think that being alone is not the same as being lonely if that makes sense. And I don‘t think Ivar is lonely when he‘s alone, just when he‘s no longer. (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB @Nessavamusic That‘s what I tried to say in the comment above 😀 but couldn‘t as well as you just did. Thanks 🙏 2w
TrishB I think the lockdown comparison by @DGRachel is a good one- we didn‘t know what we missed until then. Ivar didn‘t realise he was missing a relationship (of any sort!). 2w
Kitta @BarbaraBB I would say solitude is being alone but loneliness is feeling alone. You can feel lonely even surrounded by people for instance, or content in solitude. But you could also feel lonely while in solitude. The Oxford dictionary uses lonely in the definition of solitude “a lonely or uninhabited place” but I don‘t think that‘s right. (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB @Kitta Thank you! I will remember that from now on! 2w
squirrelbrain I agree @JamieArc - solitude and loneliness are not the same, but I don‘t think Ivar realised he was lonely until John arrived. Great explanation @kitta! 2w
peaKnit The completeness of falling into a routine with a friend or partner where words don‘t need to be said. It‘s as though Ivan did not know how deeply lonely he was until til he settled in with complimentary company. 2w
peaKnit @JamieArc without looking up a definition I think of solitude as contentment and he seemed to feel complete when John was with him. (edited) 2w
Karisa I had the feeling that Ivar was just working so hard that he didn‘t often take the time to stop and think about it all. It‘s like Sisyphus and the rock. I can‘t imagine staying when everyone leaves. Ivar‘s connection to the place is so strong. I see what you mean though, things are different for us too when we begin to see through another‘s eyes. 2w
Leniverse Good point about solitude Vs loneliness. I was thinking that it's ironic that John's presence has such an impact, because they cannot communicate and John is completely passive to begin with. Ivar talks more to his horse! Maybe it's more that John's quiet presence and dependence on Ivar creates the space for Ivar to contemplate these things. 2w
CBee Agree with all of these comments! I think Ivar is happy to be seen again, despite John not being stuck there by choice. His reaction to the picture of Mary also struck me - he‘d gotten so used to the daily monotony of life and didn‘t realize how lonely he was until he found the picture and then John. 2w
mcctrish I was thinking during this part about that saying “better the devil you know” for Ivar, he knew the island and how it worked so he stayed, you can‘t miss what you don‘t know. I agree with @Megabooks why John‘s arrival could change that - John‘s methodical attempt to understand him opened his eyes to friendship/connection on a level different from his family/shipwrecks/landlord 2w
Deblovestoread I don‘t think Ivar was lonely before John‘s arrival. I think parts of him were dormant. Those parts were awaken with the finding of Mary‘s photo and then the strange man. (edited) 2w
JamieArc @BarbaraBB Yes, I agree with you completely. 2w
JamieArc @Karisa Yes, I think so too - that he was so busy living day to day life that he didn‘t think about it. 2w
TheBookHippie Still waiting 😵‍💫🤪for my library hold. 2w
Meshell1313 I love everyone‘s comparisons to the Covid lockdown. It‘s amazing how much we are able to adapt to anything. This has just become Ivar‘s normal life- living in solitude and he probably could have kept on living like that forever and would have been fine. John‘s arrival reminded him of what it‘s like to be around a friend and not just someone who comes to collect money from him. 2w
BarbaraBB @Karisa That is so true. He stayed when the other left. His connection to the island is so strong he didn‘t even think about being or feeling alone at all because he was where he wanted to be. James‘s arrival disturbed his equilibrium. 2w
Roary47 @Leniverse @DGRachel @Graciouswarriorprincess @Kitta @Nessavamusic @CBee I had a similar thought to all of you. I feel like he was in survival mode. The loss of his family did not alter the fact that there was work and life that needed to continue. Actually seeing John and just enjoying someone else‘s company was a thought that didn‘t cross his mind so he himself could keep going I really like all the reflect on loneliness vs solitude it wasn‘t⬇️ 2w
Roary47 Something that even crossed my mind, but makes a lot of sense in Ivar‘s situation. Thank you for your thoughts! 🥰💛 2w
Kitta @peaKnit I agree that solitude has a feeling of contentment with it (at least that how I think of it and use the word!), although technically there can be a lonely solitude, that‘s not what I generally think of! (edited) 2w
Megabooks @Deblovestoread very good point. He hadn‘t flexed his companionship “muscles” in a long time, and he enjoyed it in a way I don‘t think he thought was possible. 2w
Kitta @TheBookHippie you‘re still waiting for it? Oh no! I hope it comes soon! 2w
willaful @DGRachel I'm also reminded of lockdown and how special it felt to see a friendly face, even if it was just waving at your neighbor across the street. 2w
dabbe I see more of a positive connotation with the word “solitude“, almost like the joy of being alone. “Loneliness“ connotes to me the negative pain of being alone. I believe Ivar was content in his solitude, not even being aware of it until John reminded him that he was lonely for human contact. 2w
CBee @dabbe agree 💯 2w
TheBookHippie @Kitta yup 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫 2w
BookWrym I am with @dabbe Ivar didn‘t consider himself to be missing anything until John arrived. I think the role of carer also contributed to this as he was needed by someone else. 2w
kspenmoll @dabbe I agree with your assessment. Ivar seemed content with his life due to his love of place. I wonder if it would be a huge shift when/if his horse & cow died, as they were his companions. 2w
Maggie4483 I agree with the comparisons to Covid lockdowns. I am extremely introverted, but Spring of 2020 was probably one of the hardest times in my life. And I found that the hardest times were the hours immediately after a virtual meeting (whether it was our weekly work check-ins, or a family Zoom hang). When I was hanging out alone all day, I could distract myself, but the “together-but-separate” made my isolation more intense. 2w
kspenmoll I do think John‘s slow entry into consciousness , his gradual awakening, physical dependence on Ivar allowed for ivar‘s attachment to grow. His letting go of James wife‘s picture was a defining moment. (edited) 2w
Maggie4483 I also agree with @JamieArc et. al. about “Solitude vs. Loneliness). You can be alone and not lonely, and you can feel lonely in a room full of people. I do believe that people need people. But they have to be the RIGHT people. Something about John is right for Ivar. 2w
kspenmoll @TheBookHippie Do u know where u are on list? So difficult with new books. 2w
TheBookHippie @kspenmoll was at 36 now at 3! 😆😅😂 2w
BkClubCare Agree with everyone‘ comparison of alone vs. lonely, and emerging from “Covid confinement”. Was also going to mention the feeling of being needed when I saw @BookWrym ‘s comment 😊 Plus, things that are new, do tend to awaken new feelings and unexpected reactions. 2w
BarbaraBB @Maggie4483 Thanks for sharing. Covid has had such an impact on all of us. Your example of feeling isolated seems so me a bit similar as I suppose Ivar felt. 2w
Chelsea.Poole Great question and quote to start off the discussion! I really had a soft spot for Ivar. I couldn‘t decide, initially, if he was content in his solitude or if he put much thought into being alone at all. I felt that he just accepted his lot in life. I did wonder how he came to be alone and the explanation in the next half of the book made sense to me. John certainly had quite an influence on his quiet life. 2w
Chelsea.Poole @kspenmoll yes! Re: cow & horse. I appreciated how tender he was with those animals. Definitely his companions. (edited) 2w
Hooked_on_books Even before he was alone, Ivar was part of a teeny community. So when John arrives and is truly trying to make a connection with him, as well as requiring his care, I‘m not sure Ivar has ever had a relationship like that. I think it opened his eyes to possibilities he may not have known even existed. 2w
JenReadsAlot @dabbe I love how you said that. 2w
willaful @Maggie4483 That reminds me of my daughter. I thought she would have an easier time, as an introvert, but she desperately missed the small amounts of daily contact she had with others via school, riding the bus etc. 2w
dabbe @CBee 💙💚💙 2w
dabbe @BookWrym 💙💚💙 2w
dabbe @BarbaraBB 💙💚💙 2w
dabbe @JenReadsAlot 💙💚💙 2w
dabbe @kspenmoll Excellent point. I often wonder if we as humans must have HUMAN contact or if contact with a sentient being is more than enough. 💙💚💙 2w
Soubhiville @dabbe you worded that perfectly for me as well. 🙂 2w
dabbe @Soubhiville 💙💚💙 2w
LeeRHarry Being in his own solitude Ivar had his own routine and order to how he lived his life so when John arrived that completely changed. Ivar had to adapt to this and I guess realised that he‘d missed having that human contact. 2w
CBee @Chelsea.Poole possibly the main reason I like him so much 😊 2w
BarbaraBB @Hooked_on_books So true! I think you‘re right about it being all new to him. This may have made him realize how lonely life had been until now with only the (very important indeed @kspenmoll !) animals as his companions. He must have feared losing them so much. (edited) 2w
squirrelbrain @dabbe - that‘s a great explanation of loneliness and solitude. 2w
AmyG I think Ivar was alone for so long it became comfortable, what he knew. He had animals for company. He didn‘t realize what he had, or didn‘t, until John showed up. Well said @dabbe about solitude and lonliness. 2w
youneverarrived I‘m going to go through the comments but my initial thoughts on the question are that Ivar was just accustomed to living in solitude so he wasn‘t really aware of wanting or needing connection with other people. It was just his way of life. Not until John turned up and he had human connection did he realise the solitariness of his life. 2w
GatheringBooks I am late to the party but happy to see everyone‘s musings on solitude, loneliness, parallels to the pandemic. I am reminded of the picturebook Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed - inspired by the author/illustrator‘s daughter‘s doodles about a pig who is sad - only he doesn‘t know it. 2w
dabbe @squirrelbrain 💚💙💚 2w
dabbe @AmyG 💚💙💚 2w
youneverarrived @DGRachel that‘s a great comparison. That‘s how I see it too. Also agree with @deblovestoread about parts of Ivar being dormant - so he was content in his solitary life, I think, because he didn‘t have company to make him think otherwise, it was just his way of life. 2w
Caryl Wonderful thoughts on solitude & loneliness, all. Davies‘s use of language is brilliant; as I read these comments I remembered her description of Ivar being walloped with feeling when John Ferguson first looks as him, like “what happens when a rock is covered by the sea—when, briefly, the water rises up and submerges it completely before it falls away again and reveals it” (p. 68). That whole passage is beautiful. 2w
Caryl I also recalled this story I heard on the radio about a book recently published on the science of solitude: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2024/06/03/power-science-solitude-alone-creativity-... 2w
BarbaraBB @Caryl that is a wonderful quote! And so on-point indeed! 2w
squirrelbrain Lovely quote @Caryl - and thanks for the link! 🙏 2w
dabbe Fascinating link, @Caryl. Whether we're introverts/extroverts/combination of both, we can all benefit from solitude. 💚💙💚 2w
kspenmoll @Caryl Thanks- great article. Friday night since HS has always been my solitude night, to recharge myself. Otherwise the next week would go downhill… 2w
julieclair @kspenmoll I wondered about the horse and cow, too, especially when I read that he had been given the horse in his teens, and now he‘s 40-ish. I worried what would happen when the horse died. I think he would feel true loneliness then. 2w
kspenmoll @julieclair Yes, his animals are his family- just like so many of us! 2w
Bookbuyingaddict Question 🙋‍♀️ 1- sorry for delay Iv had covid again !! @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @Megabooks - when he was alone he was content 😌 in his own world with his animals ( in also did worry about them ) and it wasn‘t until he had a human companion he realised just how lonely / alone he had been . 1w
Megabooks @Bookbuyingaddict sorry you‘re dealing with Covid! Great point! 1w
squirrelbrain Oh no @Bookbuyingaddict - hope you‘re feeling better now! 1w
54 likes88 comments
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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#booksandcoffee #porchlife #CampLitsy24 #June

In love with this book.

I am in Eastern US. What time is discussion?

Megabooks Sometime this morning Barbara will post. Generally, we post in afternoon UK/Europe, mid-morning East coast, early morning west coast. Can‘t wait to read what everyone thinks! 2w
julieclair Gorgeous porch! 2w
squirrelbrain What @julieclair said! (And what @Megabooks said too of course!) 2w
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marleed I like be your porch scene! 2w
Chelsea.Poole Lovely set up! 2w
kspenmoll @julieclair @squirrelbrain @marleed @Chelsea.Poole Thanks so much- my favorite reading spot! 2w
monalyisha You‘ve created the perfect complementary color scheme with your blanket & mug! 💚🌊🌧️🩵 7d
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Soft pick, kinda a slow burn. I found the beginning a bit tedious but I was also struggling to be awake on the train so many I nodded off and got confused? Reading the second half appealed to me more and even more so reading the notes at the end! I didn‘t realize it was a real language! So cool!

Excited for the first #camplitsy24 discussion tomorrow!

Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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On the train for a few hours heading up to Providence for my sister‘s graduation from medical school! She went to a Caribbean school and for some reason they all graduate in Rhode Island? Idk. It‘s be a nice weekend, hopefully.

Excited to start this #camplitsy24 book! I can‘t believe it‘s camp time already. 🏕️

BarbaraBB Time flies! Tomorrow is our first gathering already 😀 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Waiting at the dental surgeon‘s, my youngest is getting his wisdom teeth out this morning. I love this #camplitsy2024 book so much! I love the language, the love stories, Mary‘s fearlessness, the history lesson, all of it.

BarbaraBB So happy you loved it! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Such a wee little book packed with such a story, enjoying savouring every word

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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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At the airport heading to Oregon. Had a free pass for the “fancier” airline lounge & since I‘m here early I took advantage of it & grabbed some random “breakfast.” Full disclosure, transition to lunch came & so I also had a cup of minestrone soup not pictured. 😋🥣

I‘m about 12 chapters in on the first #CampLitsy2024 pick & I‘m intrigued. I hope to read more on the plane if I don‘t go to sleep. 😵 It‘s been a scramble getting out of town.

squirrelbrain Ooh look at you in the ‘fancy‘ lounge! 🤪 Have a safe trip! 2w
Megabooks That looks like a really good airport breakfast! 2w
Megabooks Safe travels! 2w
BarbaraBB Looking good! Safe travels! 2w
kspenmoll That looks delicious! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Starting this one now for #CampLitsy24 - looking forward to the first round of discussions this weekend!

I've had this one on my shelf since it came out, and this is the first time I've noticed the tea pot on the cover 🤦‍♀️ I've always been so transfixed by the wave!

AmyG Ha! I didn‘t notice that at all. 2w
BarbaraBB Neither did I 🫖 2w
Bookwormjillk Ha! I never saw it either. 2w
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squirrelbrain How funny - never seen that before either! 2w
Hooked_on_books It took me a while to see the teapot, too. I wish it wasn‘t there, since the wave is just gorgeous and the teapot is…weird. 2w
kspenmoll @Hooked_on_books At a glance i thought the teapot was a helicopter!!!! Thanks for clearing up that assumption ! 2w
TheKidUpstairs @kspenmoll I had registered a shape there, but thought it was a boat (maybe because the UK cover has a boat?) It never clicked as a tea pot! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Beautiful tender writing ✍️ by Carys Davies - as ever her books never disappoint. Looking forward to the group chat #camplitsy🏕️ im in the uk 🇬🇧 so not sure 🤔 what time 🕰️ Wer chatting @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @Megabooks 🤓

BarbaraBB Somewhere in the UK afternoon but you can tune in whenever it fits! 2w
squirrelbrain Looking forward to Saturday! 2w
Megabooks So glad you enjoyed it, too! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Picked this up from the library today. I‘m looking forward to digging in, knowing I‘ll get to discuss the first half on Saturday with #CampLitsy24

BarbaraBB I hope you‘ll enjoy it! See you on Saturday at Camp! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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I‘m ready for camp. 🏕️

#BookSpinBingo #CampLitsy24

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2w
squirrelbrain Hooray! 🏕️ 2w
Megabooks Fantastic!! 2w
BarbaraBB Yay! Me too! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Reading the first #CampLitsy24 pick on the coffee shop‘s (Donkey Coffee!) balcony ☕️
I had an iced coffee and it really hit the spot on this hot day.

sarahbarnes I‘m really enjoying this one! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Very good. I look forward to discussing.


squirrelbrain Looking forward to the discussions too! 2w
sarahbarnes Agreed! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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This was a lovely book, but personally I find understated little stories that try too hard to tug at my heartstrings a bit irritating. I'm at my most curmudgeonly with this sort of literary work (Claire Keegan had a similar effect on me.)

Also, there's a LOT of weather talk and scenery description. Tolkien would approve.

Clear was still a concise and moving story, and I was happy to read something sweet and literary for #camplitsy24


Daisey This review made me laugh because I really enjoyed the scenery description and didn‘t mind the weather aspects either. I also consider Tolkien my absolute favorite, so I guess that all makes sense. 😂 😆 3w
RaeLovesToRead @Daisey Hahaha, to each there own! Personally it made me feel kinda chilly and damp 😂 3w
RaeLovesToRead *their 😅 2w
Oryx I thought this was very like Claire Keegan, but I like her writing, so I enjoyed this one too. Interesting that we had the same comparator, but different outcome/impression ❤️ 2w
RaeLovesToRead @Oryx @Ruthiella also had the same thought! I think it's the sharp, clean, spare writing that wastes not a word and communicates a clear, slightly saccharine message.... Personally, I like my narratives chunky and morally ambiguous with lots of layering!!!! 2w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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My library loan finally came in for this audiobook. I have the hardback but I‘m in the middle of another IRL book versus I only have about 3 hours left on my current audiobook. So I can start this audiobook sooner than the hardback. Mmm. Make sense? #camplitsy24 #jugglingbooks

Prairiegirl_reading Yes! Yes it does make sense! Preaching to the choir I think. 😝 3w
squirrelbrain Makes perfect sense! 🤪 3w
Roary47 Yep. Perfect sense. 3w
BarbaraBB Makes perfect sense! And it‘s short. And you only need to read half for Saturday‘s discussion 😉 3w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Gosh, this was good! I just love her writing style. Penelope Lively says “saying most by saying least” is what Davies does best and I couldn‘t agree more.


Megabooks Totally agree! 3w
squirrelbrain Great review! ❤️ 3w
BarbaraBB Yes!! 3w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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A very well written historical fiction novella taking place on a fictional island in the north of Scotland. A clergyman goes to visit a land tenant to inform him he must move and they develop a friendship or maybe more. It feels very much like a slice of life story, with pretty visuals and everyday life. 4⭐️
I am interested to participate in the discussion on this one for #CampLitsy

squirrelbrain I think we‘ll have some great discussions with this book! 3w
AmyG I am halfway through and really liking this one. (edited) 3w
JamieArc I wasn‘t sure about it for the first 30 or so pages but it has me hooked now. 3w
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Nessavamusic @JamieArc yeah I was a bit lost at the beginning too 3w
Megabooks Great review! I'm excited for the discussion, too! 3w
BarbaraBB @Nessavamusic @JamieArc Yes I felt that way too! 3w
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Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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Reading this for #CampLitsy while watching a favorite Booktuber‘s reading sprints. It is very slice of life. Cute puppy reading buddy as a bonus!

Ruthiella ❤️🐶❤️🐶❤️ 3w
dabbe 🖤🐾🖤 3w
squirrelbrain Definitely a very cute reading puppy! ❤️ 3w
54 likes3 comments