Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol

Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol

This novel has characters that extend from Ellen Meeropol’s first novel House Arrest.
They are both under 300 pages and I would recommend reading

House Arrest first although Kinship of Clover can probably stand on it’s own if House Arrest is not available. On the other hand even House Arrest only refers to certain traumatic event as happening in the past, these events are more re-enacted here.

The story is set 12 years after twin boys have a traumatic event occur in the cult they were born into. The novel tells the story of Jeremy, now in college, experiencing unexplained psychological emotions that cause him to feel and see plant vines growing around him and through him until he gets lost in them.

  It also tells a story of someone on the other side of life with dementia getting worse. Here Flo is losing herself. She had a strong individual identity but is losing it.
Does Jeremy want to get lost, become part of the plants, and Flo want to hold to what she was, not ready to drop ego and become one with nature? She’s an activist, about The People.
I liked that about the atmosphere of the novel. A multi-generational activism is assumed, or at least a natural part of life.
Both of these stories affect the people connected to Flo and Jeremy. Meeropol creates characters with convincing real family connections so the feelings connected to the human difficulties of the main characters reverberate through the others. The emotions of human connection are familiar to this writer, she knows how to work with them, present them convincingly. The difficulties, the dementia and the hallucinations, are drawn with detailed composition and regarded as the mysteries they are. She creates families that are believable and like that found in the world:”OK, we are no longer married but I'll live in the upstairs apartment and help out with the kid.”


It is not all about family stuff. There are big issues out there and committed activists struggling in one way or another, for change. It is hard for the young and innocent Jeremy to properly read the intentions and tactics of the people he is getting involved with.

Jeremy's hallucinations are told in a way that shows them as interesting and scary at equal proportions. This seems realistic. Does the patient wish to drop this fantastic part of himself for the sake of some normality standard?


Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol

Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol This novel has characters that extend from Ellen Meeropol’s first novel House Arrest. They are both und...