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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stylish and engaging novel
Mostly set in a small scrubby park in an unnamed British city, Clay is the gentle interweaving of the stories of four main characters: the barely parented nine-year-old TC, Polish immigrant Jozef, an over-protected child called Daisy, and Daisy's widowed grandmother Sophia. What the quartet have in common is the park - the sort of insignificant open space that is easily...
Published 20 months ago by Natureboy

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting....
This book was beautifully written in terms of its descriptive element, yet it lacked a story line for me. I felt it was thrown together and did not have a clear direction. Wait until you see it in a second hand book shop rather than pay full price.
Published 18 months ago by Theresa


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stylish and engaging novel, 6 Jan 2013
This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
Mostly set in a small scrubby park in an unnamed British city, Clay is the gentle interweaving of the stories of four main characters: the barely parented nine-year-old TC, Polish immigrant Jozef, an over-protected child called Daisy, and Daisy's widowed grandmother Sophia. What the quartet have in common is the park - the sort of insignificant open space that is easily overlooked or used as a mere shortcut. However, it provides some sort of haven for the four principles, albeit in very different ways, and by the accident of their proximity their lives gradually begin to intertwine (much like the weeds in the park, indeed).

But this is not just a novel about human relationships. Clay takes the reader through a year in the life of the park and affords a fascinating insight into the wildlife that abounds even in this apparently unpromising setting. Harrison's attention to detail with regards to the park's surprising array of flora and fauna is magnificent, yet her deft handling and poetic touch ensure that at no point do neon lights flash up the words `Attention! Attention! You are now being educated' - a sight unhappily seen in too many modern novels (and, let's face it, quite a lot of old ones too).

This is Melissa Harrison's first novel, though it reads like the work of someone who's an old hand at the game, as evidenced by the fact that many of the impressions and emotions contained in it have stayed with me, and I'm a reader who is wont to finish a novel and then forget it almost instantly (some might say that's not always a bad thing too). I thoroughly enjoyed this and would very much recommend it. Pop into a local bookshop and pick yourself up a copy - I'd be extremely surprised if you ever look at a local park in quite the same way again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 7 Jan 2013
This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful book, which tugs powerfully in its descriptions of the prosaic and poetic losses and gains in human relationships, the city, and the natural world that turns with it all. Harrison weaves together a sense of ancient wisdom, of seasons and nature, with a worldly view of modern city life. Amazingly she manages this through and alongside the story of four interlinked characters. I cannot write/think about the characters without feeling a lump in my throat (since finishing the book I miss young TC as if I knew him - read it, you'll see what I mean): and yet this is not a tearjerker in any crass sense. The sensitivity in Harrison's writing about childhood is astounding, and the relationships between the main characters are so astutely nuanced.

I am jealous of those who haven't yet read this novel, who have the pleasure of reading it yet to come.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 21 Jan 2013
This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book. The lives of four very different Londoners, all lonely in their own way, briefly come together during a year in the life of a little patch of forgotten urban greenery. Anyone who cares about the importance of place, and of roots, or who minds about our 21st century detachment from the natural world, should read it. In my case it's Jozef, who - despite being miles and many years from his family farm in Poland, is able to find whatever it was he was missing in that piece of scrubland in the biggest city in western europe - most stayed with me when I finished the book. Ultimately, hopeful?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, 23 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
Clay is a lyrical novel, quietly getting under your skin. You'll find yourself lost in TC's world, tuned to the rhythms of nature in the city. And TC will get under your skin too. He's the best kind of boy - inquisitive and thoughtful and bursting with imagination. But he's also a boy at risk, and the forces of society that must save him, are also blunt and oblique. This is a fantastic debut novel, and this author is one to watch.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
I was given Clay to read by a friend who liked it, and it's my favourite book so far this year. A lovely book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lyrical gem, 13 Feb 2013
This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
This is a beautifully written and engaging book. I loved the focus on nature and the changing seasons. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 4 Feb 2013
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Mr P Watts (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
A brilliantly perceived and beautifully written debut novel about how nature and humans can interact in a modern post-industrial city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clay, 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Clay (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book & thought the description of the plants & environment added to it rather than distracted. The characters were believable and I cared about what they were up to. I would have liked to have read on to discover what happened next to TC & Josef, hence the four star rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Clay (Hardcover)
An unusual book with a real twist near the end. Makes you appreciate the childhood you had and how hard it is for others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking novel, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: Clay (Kindle Edition)
Change, time, loneliness and intergenerational relationships shape this story of outsiders in a city. It is easy to be an outsider simply by being alone. Groups jump to conclusions in a different way to individuals. I look forward to more novels by Melissa Harrison.
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Clay
Clay by Melissa Harrison (Hardcover - 19 Feb 2013)
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