The Clasp is about three insufferable college friends who reconnect at a friend’s wedding in Miami. Nathaniel’s career in LA has stalled, Kezia’s work for an unhinged jeweler is slowly killing her and Victor was recently fired from a search engine less popular than Bing. After a conversation with the groom’s dying mother Victor is inspired to embark on a journey to track down a literal literary treasure. If I remember Sloane Crosley’s previous non-fiction works correctly then it is not a surprise that she would create such unlikable leading characters.
“Americans love that, no? To think of jewelry as a dead thing. This is why you keep the Hope Diamond next to your dinosaur bones.”
A review for The Clasp, Crosley’s debut novel, described it “like The Goonies written by Lorrie Moore.” Now, I don’t know who Lorrie Moore is but I know The Goonies and while The Clasp had its moments it was no Goonies.
The problem I have with most novels that call themselves literary fiction is they try to distract the reader with flowery prose and long-winded descriptors in an attempt to keep you from realizing they are more fluff than substance. The set up of who Nathaniel, Kezia and Victor are and what they mean to one another takes too long- by the time the story has conveniently gotten all three of them to France there are only a few more chapters left to wrap everything up.