Heather Tucker has created some kind of magical being in Ari Appleton in The Clay Girl. I loved this book. I loved the chaotic mess of Ari’s life, being told from this touching and alive prose, and the way the story was horrific but never overbearing due to the writing style.
The Clay Girl is focused on our narrator Ari, her father who kills himself at the beginning of the story, her worthless mother and her five sisters. We also meet a caring step-father, a dick of a step-father, wonderful teachers and friends, some unlikely kinship in step siblings and a pair of spectacular aunts. Ari has the most chaotic life, but also the biggest heart and it is always a mystery how she manages to not let the world bring her down to a mean asshole status. The book is set in the 1960’s between Toronto and Cape Breton and I feel that Tucker really gets the setting right, the book has a real good feel to it and it’s almost like you can taste the decade.
Ari’s imaginary seahorse Jasper is a wonderful addition, not a self defeating seahorse but one that is a voice of calm and reason. How Ari manages to see the best in everyone I have no idea, but in the end we see how the resilience of the human spirit is stronger than anything we could have ever imagined.
PS- I read on Heather Tucker’s website that there is a sequel and I am just praying that a publisher picks it up soon!