In If Clara, nobody stands on firm ground. Daisy, a writer confined to her home, her leg in a cast from hip to ankle, receives a parcel containing the manuscript of a novel about a Syrian refugee and is asked to pose as its writer. Julia, the curator at the Kleinzahler Gallery, has no idea that her sister, Clara, has written a novel. However, she does know that Clara suffers from a debilitating mental illness, is unpredictable, and lapses easily into hostility. Maurice's life is changed by an art installation involving a pair of binoculars welded to the wall through which visitors are invited to observe passersby outside. An ultralight aircraft's collision with a quiet lawn brings them all together. If Clara explores the emotional weight of friendship, the complexity of family, and people inextricably entwined.
About the authors
Martha Baillie was born in Toronto. After studies at the University of Edinburgh and the Sorbonne in Paris, she returned to Toronto where she continued her studies at the University of Toronto, and for a time trained as an actor. It was following a year of extensive travel in Asia in 1982 that Baillie began writing, and had her first poems and a novel published. She is the author of three previous novels, and has been published in Canada, Germany and Hungary. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Descant, Prairie Fire and the Antigonish Review. The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach, was published by Brick in 2007. Her manuscript-based sculptural installation, Core Sample, has been shown in the Sidespace Gallery and the Type Books basement gallery. She has worked part time for the Toronto Public Library in branches throughout the city, for close to twenty years. Baillie is a bilingual storyteller (English/French) who has told in schools around the city and at the Toronto International Storytelling Festival.
Jennifer Dale is a Canadian television actor.
“Clara, despite her volatility, is the novel’s linchpin — a creative choice that speaks to Baillie’s characteristic cerebral playfulness as well as her allegiance to characters held on society’s margins ... Baillie’s empathetic portrayal of Clara shows a mind following its own kind of logic. There’s a lighter tone to this novel, so it might surprise readers how much it has to say about creativity and the fractured self.�* — Globe and Mail
“If Clara finds Baillie at the top of her game with this complex, deftly layered new novel … a richly rewarding read to sink into for a solitary afternoon.�* — Toronto Star
“In clean prose made buoyant with whimsy and allegory, Baillie tells of the bonds between sisters, daughters, and mothers, between friends, and between lovers of literature. If Clara is ultimately an intergenerational novel whose deeply felt characters speak to the universality of suffering while raising challenging questions about entitlement.�* — Quill & Quire, starred review