Book Review: The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

Book Review: The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

In this quirky début novel Sloane Crosley tells the story of three college friends who are reunited at another friend’s wedding where one of them discovers reference to a mysterious necklace that disrupts life as they know it. 

The three friends are Kezia, the second-in-command to an insane jewellery designer, Nathaniel, the former literary cool kid now selling his wares in Hollywood and still unashamedly self-obsessed and Victor, recently unemployed and just about hitting rock-bottom. They are brought back together only to realise just how little has changed since their college days. 

These three quasi-adults are dissatisfied with their lot in life and desperate to keep up the façade to the contrary. They aren't particularly close but share a loosely threaded bond from their days in college together and yet much of their relationships all those years ago has formed their personalities today. Their feelings remain relatively unchanged: Kezia wants Nathaniel, Victor loves Kezia and Nathaniel loves himself – and any attractive woman in his proximity. 

On the eve of the wedding Kezia disappears to a man’s hotel room for a one-night stand that she’s not quite sure she wants and Victor finds himself drinking in the mother of the groom’s room only to pass out and wake up the next morning with said mother, Joahnna, standing over him. For reasons unbeknown to Victor, Johanna tells a fascinating tale about a necklace that she believes is hidden in a French chateau. With child-like curiosity Victor makes it his mission to track it down with only an old sketch as his guide. Kezia becomes increasingly concerned about him when he disappears and so employs Nathaniel to help her track him down. 

Both Nathaniel and Victor are on some level infatuated with Kezia but it never seems quite enough ultimately it’s a novel full of not quites – Kezia, Victor and Nathaniel are not quite good friends, Kezia and Nathaniel’s relationship is not quite romantic and Victor is in some way but not quite in love with Kezia. I couldn’t help feeling that The Clasp somewhat resembled a notepad filled with vaguely connected thoughts, characterisations and observations - all held together by the indistinct notion of the intertextual literary reference of Guy de Maupassant’s "The Necklace". That’s not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable. It was a pleasurable read with unexpected moments of comedy and while I’m not convinced of the strength of the storyline, Crosley has a cynically witty edge to her writing that makes me want to go for a drink with her.