• Novels
  • Reviews
  • Events
  • Author Bio
  • Contact
  • Home


    Clara is a powerful Jamaican woman brought from Jamaica to New York to run the household after David's mother has a breakdown following the death of her baby daughter. Rough and loving, Clara introduces David to a world richly textured with legend and magic. He learns her patois and becomes an honorary member of her social circle, mainly consisting of the ladies of Blanche's Beauty Parlor in Brooklyn. As his mother grows odder and his father more distant, so David clings the more to Clara -- with the inevitable unhappy consequences.

    Her closet door was ajar and inside it David could see the red vinyl suitcase where he knew she kept all her personal letters. She normally kept it locked; he had seen her put the key in one of her blue envelopes, hidden somewhere in the night table. He climbed off the bed and tiptoed over to the closet door, opening it further. The dark cavity was instantly flooded with light cast by Clara's bedside lamp. The clasp on the suitcase was open!
    Just as he was about to reach into the closet, Clara woke up. "What you think you doing?"
    He whirled to face her. "Just looking around."
    She shook her head. "Today must be about the worst-behaved I ever did see you. I wonder if it mark a new cycle, like reoccurring decimal?" "No," David groaned.
    "But, is the same thing I telling you today," Clara insisted. "About my person. You mustn't touch where you don't concern...I losing patience now. Since you don't seem to understand this room is my privacy. So let me tell you, if I ever catch you into my things, your backside will be red for months. Redder than de suitcase." She clapped her hands. "Go to your own room now."
    David trudged to the door, then turned around again and peered at Clara. "Don't ever leave me," he whispered.


    “And impressive novel…. Clara’s Heart is notable precisely because of the risks Joseph Olshan has taken that do succeed, not the least of which is its sensistive and often comical treatment of the unique love between a precocious American boy and a wise, if tormented Jamaican woman.”
    The New York Times Book Review