Unique characters fill ‘How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly’

When the thermometer reads 92 degrees in the shade at sunrise, the scorching days of summer heat can often make people do strange things. For Clarissa Burden, the weirdness of one hot day in June just might change her life forever.

In Connie May Fowler’s new book “How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly,” she follows one day in the life of a 30-something woman and how what once was considered normal and mundane would soon become unacceptable and intolerable.

In the little town of Hope, Fla., Clarissa is well known for her successful novels. No one who knew her would ever dream that her life was anything but idyllic, but Clarissa is suffering from writer’s block and her artist husband keeps her garden filled with nude young women who are supposedly his muses. Clarissa loves her home and garden, but feels an unsettledness that shadows her life and she longs to be free and creative once again.

As she meanders through town, encountering both present day acquaintances, ghosts from the past and freakish new strangers, Clarissa desperately seeks guidance to find her way back to the woman she used to be. Would that guidance come in the form of a fellow (and handsome) writer friend, an enamored housefly, a ghostly mixed-race family, or a one-armed angel — or it could simply be found among the carnival of dwarfs that has just rolled into town.

Known for her best-selling novel “Before Women Had Wings,” Fowler treats her readers to a whimsical, emotional tale of a midlife crisis gone strangely awry with “How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly.” Her cast of characters in this tale are extremely unique, but all serve a purpose for guiding Clarissa along her way. The domestic situation is frustrating and enraging, and a sympathetic appreciation for Clarissa’s slip of her hold on sanity is quite understandable.

A perfect read for those upcoming days of summer heat.


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