The weird thing for me with this book is how little I care for the story that inspired it, Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace. That famous tale is essentially an account of vapid people doing stupid things, to their own detriment, exactly the kind of thing I have little patience for (looking at you, Fates And Furies.) But Sloane Crosley’s The Clasp is hilarious and heartfelt, and while her characters are far from perfect, they are also, at least, struggling towards the self-awareness that is markedly different from the self-absorption that seems to be the hallmark of too many fictional protagonists nowadays.
Essentially, you have three people who became friends while in college: Victor, who’s in love with Kezia, who’s in love with Nathaniel, who’s in love with himself (and is also good friends with Victor.) Though they try to stay close, their paths diverge with adult jobs and responsibilities. The wedding of a college friend brings them back together as they approach their thirties. Victor’s chance encounter with the groom’s mother soon has them haring off across France, Victor in search of the necklace from the de Maupassant story, and Kezia in pursuit of Victor, with Nathaniel along for the ride. It’s a terrific tale of adult friendships and of how time shapes love and emotions, couched in humorous observations of a certain (privileged) cross-section of American society.
And that perfect, perfect ending! While I would love to read what our trio make of the rest of their lives, I also reveled in the deliciousness of the way and the where Ms Crosley chose to end her book. Very well done.