Terence Clarke

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WHEN CLARA WAS TWELVE (Publication date: March 1, 2020)

Review by Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite:

“When Clara Was Twelve by Terence Clarke is the story of a young girl and her family as they try to figure out how they can right the wrongs of the past. Clara, an American, is just 12 years old in 1957 when she meets Emma Dusel in Paris, where she is visiting with her mother and father.  She gets the shock of her life when she finds out that Emma is actually her half-sister. Her mother Lauren gave birth to a girl when she was a teenager. She gave the girl up for adoption years ago, but it seems like fate has other plans for her and her new family. Now, her daughter Clara wants just one thing: to bring her whole family together and make sure that they can live together. But things are far more complicated than they seem, and Clara is too young to know what they are. She wants her mother to accept Emma as she accepted Clara, but this is becoming far more troublesome than she thought. Will she be able to make it happen? Or will this destroy her family?

“This is as dramatic and emotional as it sounds, and it is one hell of a ride. The family drama has an amazingly well-executed storyline that makes for a stellar novel. Clara is so much more mature than her age and she shows intelligence that makes her very special. She is determined to bring Emma into her family and she very much wants her mother to accept her. There were times when I was just frustrated with Lauren, but as the story progressed, I understood why she acts as she does. Faith and familial bonds play a very vital role in the story and the author allows the characters to explore all of that in their own way. I loved this story and wouldn’t be surprised if this novel becomes a TV special or a movie, because it has a lot of potential for such an endeavor. Very moving and entertaining.”

(Please note: This review was not bought or paid for.)

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Arena of Truth_cover_AMAZON

Published: March 1, 2019

In the matter of race in the United States, reconciliation is sought, while confrontation is shunned. This formula has not worked. A non-fiction book, An Arena of Truth tells of a remarkable educational project, designed by Dr. Peter Kranz, that, if implemented now, everywhere, could do much to resolve the racism that plagues this country. The core element of the project is racial confrontation.

In the foreword to the book, Dr. Price M. Cobbs, co-author of Black Rage, writes: “This book shows Kranz’s courage, and that of his students, as pioneers and meticulous architects in the development and implementation of an authentic conversation about race.”

Praise:

An Arena of Truth provides a fascinating glimpse into the radical classes on racism by Dr Peter Kranz. It was a revelation to read of the profound prejudices of students on both sides of the racial divide, including the way their views changed. I was touched by the raw honesty of the words taken directly from their journals written at the time. This is an important book that offers a proven method to heal racial tensions and which could be applied to a whole host of other problem areas such as age, sexual or religious discrimination. Kranz’s classes are a challenging concept in the current climate where political correctness is of paramount concern. However, if they go at least some way to heal racial tensions, they are well worth implementing.” –Amanda Rofe, Readers’ Favorite

“Many of the students who enrolled in Peter Kranz’s “Human Conflict: Black and White” at the University of North Florida in the 1970s thought the class would be an “easy A.” It proved anything but. Forced by classmates to examine their preconceptions regarding Blacks and Whites, many of the students underwent painful self-examinations that often resulted in an appreciation of those they had formerly disliked or feared.

“Kranz permitted students to shout in class, but not to be violent. All students were required to live a week with families of students of the other race, and to visit historically black universities and colleges to experience institutions where Blacks called the shots.

“Years later, most of the students regarded the class as the high point of their college years, writing that they would never have learned as much about themselves without being confronted.

“Would Kranz’s class work today in an era of trigger warnings, online trolls, and rabid partisanship? The students, almost to a person, shout yes. They learned that confrontation works.” –KMD, Amazon Reader Review

“The audacity! The huevos! The vision! How in the hell, in the south of all places and in 1972 of all times, did Dr. Peter Kranz, he University of North Florida and a group of courageous students pull this off? At a time when our country is still struggling with the issues of race in America, we find an example and a model of how it could be done better. An Arena of Truth: Conflict in Black and Whiteby Terence Clarke takes us inside the laboratory and into the hearts and minds of ordinary students of the Seventies who were willing to delve deep into their biases, their fears and their anger to explore their feelings about race in the south. Kranz was able, somehow, to serve as guide, referee and visionary in this ground-breaking experiment. It should serve as a way forward for all of us who search for cure for our national wound that refuses to heal.” –Carlos “El Charro”, Amazon Reader Review

Please see the video of Terence Clarke’s appearance with this book at Heyday Books in Berkeley, California, June 2019.

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Published: January 1, 2019

From the book: “Pablo smiled, enjoying the silly metaphor he had just made. His breathing began to hurry, though. Suddenly he was in danger again…the memory of it. ‘Down there, in those far reaches of my country…’ He felt his voice grasping for the occasion, his wish to tell the story. ‘Where events—that are now themselves quite forgotten—once took me, one must cross…’ He laid a hand on his chest. ‘And I had to cross…’ He took in a breath. ‘The Andes mountains.’”

Note: The Splendid City is being translated to Spanish by noted Chilean novelist Jaime Collyer. The Spanish-language edition will be published later in 2019.

Praise:

From Kirkus Reviews— “In March 1949, Neruda was forced to flee his native Chile on horseback over the Andes to evade arrest by the government of his former ally Gabriel González Videla. The celebrated poet and Communist famously recounted this escape decades later while accepting the Nobel Prize in literature, but Clarke offers this fully dramatized version in order to better understand the fear and defiance that Neruda felt at the time. Using the poet’s Nobel lecture as a frame narrative — ‘My speech will be a long journey… a voyage I once took through faraway, antipodean regions, which for that reason are not much different from the landscape and solitudes here of the North’– the author takes readers through the events leading up to Neruda’s odyssey. These include the poet’s term in the Chilean Senate and his year spent in hiding beginning in 1948. The ride itself is treated with the greatest detail: part daring escape, part travel narrative, part personal reflection of Neruda’s life up to that point. Separated from his wife, Delia, he is forced to sneak through checkpoints using forged documents and to rely on strangers from all different walks of life, making his way through frozen smugglers’ passes and on to the freedom of Argentina. It is clear that he survives–but is the man who went into the mountains the same one who came back down? ‘He would miss his country terribly… The Araucanian forests. The azure, dark Pacific, font of everything that fed him. The still, treeless north, so bleakly ruinous, home to all those miners who had elected him to the senate. The light, no matter where he was in the countryside.’

“Clarke (The Notorious Dream of Jesús Lázaro, New York, and others) writes with clarity and precision, and in his finest moments, his prose captures the lyricism of Neruda’s poetry.”

 

From LatinoBooks.Net– “In this fine novel, Terence Clarke recounts the gripping episode in which Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, running for his life, escaped on horseback from Chile to Argentina, through the Cordillera de los Andes at the beginning of the treacherous winter of 1949.”

 

From Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Harem: The World Behind The VeilTaking The Waters, and Seven Houses: “The Splendid City is a splendid book.”

 

From Beatrice Bowles, author of Cloud Spinner and The Hungry Serpentand The Girl W ho Said No!; Voting member of the Grammys: “If you crave high intensity thrillers with a streak of poetic passion, this is your novel! Though adored worldwide, poet Pablo Neruda must escape Chile’s repressive government by crossing the Andes, on horseback, in a wild winter blizzard. The near fatal endeavor is lightened by his three rough and rugged companions, by Neruda’s own delirious imaginings, and a hilariously loyal mule. All the thrills of a grand Western warmed by Neruda’s flames of desire for faraway Delia, his adored wife and muse, who is being courted by the greatest artists in Paris.”

 

From KMD, Amazon Reader Review: “Terence Clarke dramatically intermingles the story of Pablo Neruda’s escape from fascist-turning Chile in 1949 with events from Neruda’s life, both before and after the Communist poet crossed the Andes to reach safety in Argentina. As importantly, Clarke gives full credit to the men and animals who helped turn a dilettante into a mountain man, particularly the near illiterate Ramada who astounded the poet with his lyrical descriptions of women. The brief chapters concerning Neruda’s wife Delia, twenty years his senior (shades of Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte!), sympathetically track a woman who never loses faith that her man will return to her.”

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Published: 2018

Terence Clarke’s father and son both have severe epilepsies, while Clarke himself does not. In this essay, he reports what he has so clearly learned, about them and about himself.

 

From “Fathers, Sons, and Seizures”:
Brennan’s kindness shows in the photo, taken when he was three…the European touch of the scuffed sandal, appropriate to his having been born in Paris, the patterned cotton shirt that I remember was faded red and quite manly, especially when worn with his dust- splotched jeans. He looks at the camera with obvious enjoyment of the moment. He doesn’t question much. He lives a life the way children are supposed to. He’s loved. His eyes soften with the attention given to him by his mother, who is taking the picture while I stand at her shoulder.

That he undergoes many enormous seizures a day does not matter at this moment. He may fall from the fence in a paralysis a half minute later, to kick dust about, his eyes searching the trees in a manic clutch, his face gray and twitching as the seizure’s current runs through him. But for now he is the Brennan we had hoped for, simply enjoying the fence, the warm afternoon, and the affection of his parents.

Praise:

“Fathers, Sons, and Seizures’ is a beautifully written and profoundly moving account of a man’s relationship with his son and his own father, evoking the universal feelings of love and loss, expectation and disappointment that thread through every deep relationship. Terence Clarke’s essay is devastatingly wonderful.” –Sarah Ogilvie, author of Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary.

 “Fathers, Sons, and Seizures” is a wonderfully telling story of how our children inform us about ourselves and our relationships with our parents, and in doing so help us heal. We think that we are meant to teach our children, when in so many ways they teach us, without ever having that intention. This is a very respectful and brave portrait of the Clarke men of three generations.” –Neurologist Kendra Peterson M.D.

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Published: 2017

New York City provides the setting for these fourteen vivid stories.

  • Love on the subway.
  • Tango on the West Side.
  • The High Line as you’ve never seen it.
  • An artist’s heart-thrilling affair.
  • The disastrous secret in a Pulitzer Prize photo.
  • A lover’s betrayal, revealed in Central Park.

All, and more, in New York.

Praise:

“This gem of a collection by Terence Clarke celebrates the art, passions, and people of New York City. After a brief, sweet look at inadvertent eavesdropping on mass transit and the kindness of strangers in “Everyone in L.A.,” Clarke begins in earnest with “The High Line.” He uses this uniquely New York landmark as the linchpin of connections between the robustly American New York and the New York that is a microcosm of the world, in this case bringing together corporate lawyer A. Pollard O’Rourke and the Dominican-American former goatherd Eshu Basoalto. Each story that follows is suffused with love of one form or another, whether it be romance or deep-felt caring for others. Art, too, fills these pages, ranging from the delicious but simple culinary creations in “The Sandwich” to abstract sculpture in “Thank You, Pierre-Auguste.” War is also a theme throughout: it shatters the lives of characters as different as Coptic Egyptian sandwich maker Muhammad, Argentine banker Romero Heflin, and photographer Bouquet Alonso. There are no weak stories here.” —Publishers Weekly

“Tales like these feel like new takes on classic stories of New York by Salinger or Capote—fine company, all in all. ‘My Beautiful Francisco,’ in particular, with its Spence School girls and polo matches in the Hamptons, is a charming homage to Salinger’s Upper East Side. But Clarke is most successful when he tackles more modern New York characters. ‘Thank You, Pierre-Auguste’ is an appealing love story set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in which a successful sculptor falls in love with a divorcée-turned-baker and embraces new artistic media. It’s a timeless romance set in a fiercely contemporary situation. Similarly, ‘The Three-Cornered Hat’ takes a 21st-century figure as its protagonist—a startup founder—and sends him to an awkward evening of tango dancing in the Meatpacking District…. This enjoyable collection captures an authentic charm and should please any avid reader of stories of the city of New York.” —Kirkus Reviews

 “Terence Clarke’s collection of short stories will delight New York aficionados, wherever they live. Clarke captures the beat of New York City life, with its special flavor, history, and variety. I especially liked the picture of goats grazing on the elevated tracks before they became the High Line.” —Marilyn Yalom, author of Compelled to Witness: Women’s Memoirs of the French Revolution and How the French Invented Love

“Terence Clarke’s style in this superb collection of short stories is radiantly entertaining while retaining that superb degree of sophistication that the great ones own.It is that sort of pungent peek into today’s world that makes his works so right. All have their flavor and should be read at ease – urban vignettes that capture the lives of the unique citizens of New York. Tasty and thoroughly entertaining, Terence Clarke can become addictive.”—Grady Harp, Amazon Top 100 reviewer

“A beautiful collection of stories about that big iconic city.” —Rebecca McNutt, Goodreads

“As an ex-New Yorker, I found Clarke’s characterizations of the people, places, and events in that city to be true and very poignant. Having completed one story, I simply could not wait to delve into the next. New York will give the reader the real, personal, essence of living in the Big Apple. A terrific read!” —Dr. Peter L. Kranz, Amazon reader review

“These stories are fantastic. Clarke’s gifts as a writer shine brightly.” —Matt James, Amazon reader review

“As a former New Yorker (albeit briefly – three years for graduate school), I love Terence Clarke’s New York stories. From a love story about a piano, to a tale about art and inspiration, to a moving narrative telling the history of the High Line (one my favorite stories about one of my favorite places in Manhattan), Clarke captures the variety and character and spirit that is New York City. With his fluid and elegant writing style, each story took me on a journey that reminded me why I love Manhattan. Whether you are a native New Yorker, someone who loves New York, or someone who wants to know more about New York, this collection will help you, too, love the people and places in that city.” —Erin Marie, Amazon reader review

“Terence Clarke’s collection of short stories brought me right back to my beloved city, so much so that I could hear the sounds, smell the smells, and close my eyes to imagine myself right back there. He writes with an unpretentious, clever ease, and his descriptions are vivid, his tales compelling. I highly recommend this treasure trove of stories, not only for lovers of New York, but for those who haven’t yet been, and want to take a trip there in their minds.” —Heidi, Amazon reader review

 

Individual stories:

“’Bouquet’ is what short stories should be like! In less than 50 pages, I was given an in-depth portrait of a woman who feels so real and who has such a rich story to tell and live. Not only is the present day story intricate and interesting, but the story of Bouquet’s time in Peru is heart wrenching. Short stories don’t do that anymore! The writing itself is genuine, moving, and a must-read. Terence Clarke has an amazing writing career ahead of him if he not only repeats the brilliance here in ‘Bouquet,’ but also grows with time and exceeds the limits. I will definitely be coming back for more!” —Samantha Colville, Readers’ Favorite

“In ‘Andrea’s Hand,’ Declan, a reporter for TheNew York Times, meets Andrea Villalta, a painter, in Central Park one afternoon. He is fascinated by her and plucks up the courage to speak to her as she sits by a statue in the Conservatory Garden. Their relationship grows, but is overshadowed by Andrea’s hidden secret about her twisted fingers, which pain her when she paints her remarkable works. When Andrea finally sums up the courage to tell Declan her story, will she be able to cope with her emotions enough to allow herself to love? ‘Andrea’s Hand’ is a simply beautiful, well-crafted short story. —Heather Osborne, Readers’ Favorite

 “Terence Clarke’s ‘Everyone in L.A.’ is a clever, witty, and wonderful short story about chance encounters, and how even the most negligible moments can have a resonating impact on our daily lives. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and captivating read, and whole heartedly-give it five stars for its ingenuity and humor.”—Goodreads

“For me ‘Everyone in L.A.’ is a story about the clarity of the heart. Every day we compose crazy stories about the people and circumstances we encounter, based on the smallest fragments of information. After listening at some length to the fanciful ‘perceptions’ of an eavesdropping commuter, the reader witnesses the true insightfulness of the heart. A sweet story.” —John Campbell, Amazon reader review

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Notorious Dream Cover

Published: 2015

Infamous muralist Jesús Lázaro comes to San Francisco, California from Oaxaca, Mexico, where he has been painting the exteriors of churches despite objections from the Catholic Church and the Mexican government. The artist sees the massive cathedral of Saint Mary of The Assumption of San Francisco, at the corner of Gough and Geary Streets, and determines he must paint the entire exterior with grand murals. Archbishop Ruben Mullins refuses the artist, and the dispute sparks protests in the street, gets the attention of the Vatican, sets off a disastrous love triangle, and may or may not invoke the wrath of God.

Praise:

“Terence Clarke’s remarkable and completely original novel will delight you with a view of love, art, and religion at battle with each other in ways you’ve never seen before. It’s funny, contemporary, and deeply heartfelt. The Notorious Dream of Jesús Lázaro is a must read!” –Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Harem: The World Behind The Veil, Seven Houses and The Palace of Tears

“This is without a shadow of doubt the best thing I have read, of all Terence Clark’s writing. There’s a fascinating historical backstory, set in Mexico, that brings to life the extraordinary faith of the rural Oaxaceña population. Unexpectedly, the story then moves to contemporary San Francisco, and the pace gathers speed toward a riveting and completely believable climax. There are engaging characters throughout, none more than the artist, Jesus Lazaro, whose graphic imaginings provoke a catastrophic clash with the highest echelons of the Catholic Church. As for the depiction of the senior members of the Church – wow! The story-arc of Archbishop Ruben’s fate is utterly compelling and ultimately very  shocking.” –David Kennard, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker: The Ascent of Man with Jacob Bronowski; Cosmos with Carl Sagan; Keeping Score with Michael Tilson Thomas and many others

“Sometimes, as a reviewer, one feels that she may not be able to do a book justice in the short amount of time one has to write a review. This is one of those times. Terence Clarke’s novel, The Notorious Dream of Jesús Lázaro, follows an artist in the creation of his life’s masterpiece. Mr. Clarke, in writing this saga, has completed his own literary masterpiece. I simply cannot recommend this book more highly. It would appeal to any lover of fiction, the art world, or simply great writing. I loved, loved, loved this book and I cannot wait to read more of Terence Clarke’s work.” –Tracy Slowiak Readers’ Favorite

“A grand account of church politics, forbidden passions, and the nobility of artistic freedom.” –Beatrice Bowles,author of audio books, including Spark Catchers, Cloud Spinner and The Hungry Serpent and others; recipient of the 2015 Storytelling World Award; Voting Member: Grammy’s Recording Academy

“With The Notorious Dream of Jesús Lázaro, Terence Clarke offers up a story of dazzling imagination, imagery and passion. Jesús Lázaro is a powerful and fascinating character. This is a traipse through a San Francisco you haven’t seen before.” –Alison Singh Gee, author of Where the Peacocks Sing

“With this book Terence Clarke steps solidly into the arena of the finest of American authors. The story is great and absolutely must be made into a movie. Really, this book is a miracle.
” –Grady Harp, Amazon.com Top 100 Reviewer

“All of my life I have been fascinated by the Catholic Church—back to Pope Pius XI and Patrick Cardinal Hayes in New York. I greatly enjoyed your take on this amazing institution as part of a most fascinating book!” –Charles Reich,author of The Greening of America

“What a read! History, church politics, complications of a romantic nature. It’s one of these books you want to finish and then read a second time. Loved it.” –Ann Seymour, author of I’ve Always Loved You

“I have seldom seen an author so perfectly blend legend, poetry and a heartfelt feeling for other cultures as powerfully as Terence Clarke. One can only wonder at what he will bring us next.” –Jack Deveny, author of Blind Triangle

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Published, 2012

Praise:

“Integrity, rendered with such skill and bigness of heart. I read every word of these stories, not through professional obligation but through genuine enjoyment, engagement, admiration for Clarke’s mastery of the craft… I was literally moved to tears by some of the stories, transported by all of them into a world of Irish nuns, immigrants, mad poets, white-collar workers, errant priests and lawyers with, of all things, a heart…” –Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books

“At times we come across work by an author unknown to us and the impact is so intense that it leaves us wondering why this is a first encounter. Terence Clarke is that sort of writer.” –Grady Harp, Amazon Top 100 Reviewer

“Clarke’s wonderful gift is that he illuminates this space with such extraordinary compassion, so that we feel with his characters the whole range of emotions that can be felt – of hopes that flare up, are trodden on, but emerge again in another pattern and another place. The stories are vivid, real and compelling. They are also a beautiful portrait of San Francisco, with so many scenes that are instantly recognizable to those of us who live here.” –Matt James, Amazon customer review

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Published, 2010

“So much has been written about Che Guevara that the books and articles gathered together could be housed in an enormous library of their own. Sadly, very little of this work is fiction. This book of mine tells of the emotion, for good or ill, that such controversial figures must carry in their hearts.” –Terence Clarke

Praise:

“This is the kind of book that will resonate in your imagination. Clarke has created something rare and precious, a novel of deeply felt sentiment that is also vehemently unsentimental. It is a striking portrayal of the last days of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, illuminated by a painterly sense of lucidity, and echoing throughout with vividly-imagined dialogues. It is also a novel  about the limitless truth that can be found in a single moment of embrace, and the redemptive power of love. Unforgettable.” –Matt James, Amazon reader review

 

“Now, for the first time, we see Che in an entirely different light thanks to Clarke’s major character, Ofelia, a Bolivian peasant girl. I can’t say enough for a male author who takes on the daunting and dangerous task of seeing the world through the eyes of an adolescent girl. It would be so easy to unwittingly fall into the traps of caricature and small sentimentality, but Clarke never does so. Instead he shows a sensitivity and understanding I’ve never before encountered.” –Novelist Jack Deveny

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Published 1991

Praise:

“Clarke has fashioned a probing, amazingly vivid portrait of an Irish-American family seething with emotional, political and intergenerational conflict.” —Publishers Weekly

 “The narrative follows 11-year-old Patrick Pearse as he swings emotionally between the comforting rituals of Catholicism and the anarchic appeal of the city’s beatnik culture. Complicating this internal struggle is the tug-of-war between the two people most important in his life. His grandfather, trying to assuage guilt about his criminal life with the Irish Republican Brotherhood decades earlier, condemns his father’s support of the modern IRA. Clarke has blended these elements into an engaging narrative with appealing characters and contemporary relevance. Recommended for all serious fiction collections.” —Library Journal

“Terence Clarke here writes a dense generational novel with the delicacy and elegance of a poet. He bravely intends to revive a tradition which has largely been left to clumsy hands.” –Novelist Herbert Gold

“With measured grace and a poet’s vision, Terence Clarke shows us, as no writer has, how hard it is for one man to speak his heart to another, especially if they are father and son.” –Novelist Susan Trott

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Published, 1994

Dan Collins, chief of the Agency for International Development in western Borneo, is a man  caught in conflict between two cultures. On orders to retrieve a State Department official from the upper reaches of the Baleh River, he discovers an enthralling world cloaked by the lush veil of the jungle. Instead of bringing his colleague back, Collins retreats into the uncharted wilderness.

Praise:

“The richly multicultural world of Malaysia in the 1960s is the setting for this evocative, appealingly written novel by Terence Clarke.” —Publishers Weekly

“An episodic adventure marked by vivid depictions of the Borneo jungle and the indigenous Iban culture. Purchase for substantial fiction collections.” —Library Journal

Note: The King of Rumah Nadai will be republished in a new edition in 2020.

 

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Published, 1988

Praise:

“I don’t think there has ever been a book quite like The Day Nothing Happened by San Francisco writer Terence Clarke… Full of complexity, finally rich in texture and meaning, The Day Nothing Happened parallels the growth of its protagonist in both style and content. Reading it is a memorable experience.” –Patricia Holt, editor, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“His telling tales of Borneo bring us news about ourselves from the farthest precincts of ‘the rest of the world.” ‘–John Krich, Wall Street Journal

The Day Nothing Happened is a twentieth century epic right out of the world of Joseph Conrad. Set on the island of Borneo, in the jungles of Sarawak and the teeming streets of Kuching, this book far outdistances anything like it to appear in years. The turning of biography into such fine crafted fiction is the mark of a very special talent.” —New England Review of Books

“When people from different cultures meet, the results may be painful conflict or unifying comedy. This impressive collection of stories offers generous portions of both. Clarke provides colorful glimpses of an exotic land as well as sensitive portrayals of human experiences that transcend cultural differences.” —Library Journal

 “The Day Nothing Happened affords both pleasure and enlightenment. An extraordinarily intelligent book.” –Novelist Alice Adams

“With The Day Nothing Happened, Terence Clarke puts the reader in the grip of a master storyteller.” –Novelist Cecile Pineda

Note: The Day Nothing Happened will be republished in a new edition in 2020.

 


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