Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A clatter of jars by Lisa Graff

"Singular Talents are understood as feats beyond standard human abilities and/or laws of physics."

A clatter of jars is the companion volume to A tangle of knots.  I like this concept of a companion novel.

Lisa Graff explains :
To my mind, the companion novel combines the best of both worlds. It integrates characters, settings, even plotlines from a previous novel, but is still completely its own book that can be read independently of the first.

I absolutely adored A tangle of knots but I did find A clatter of jars a more complex read. I think I now need to re-read the first book.  The Kirkus reviewer actually suggests you might need to read this second book more than once.! What I really wanted was a list of the Talents especially since some are quite obscure :

  • Pinnacle - the ability to lift objects
  • Scanner - the ability to read minds
  • Coax - "the ability to Wheedle Talents from one person to another and back again."
  • Mimic - the ability to duplicate the Talent of anyone for approximately one year
  • Recollector - able to transplant memories from one mind to another

The children have come to Camp Atropos.  Jolene Mallory, the camp director, does not have a Talent but she does have an artifact - a harmonica - which she uses to identify the Talents of others. She also collects and sells Talents in small jars which wash up on the shores of the lake beside the camp.  The reasons for this mystery are explained in the prologue (listen here) which links this book to the original story found in A Tangle of Knots.  Each of the campers - Liliana (Lilly), Charlotte (Chuck), Renwick (Renny) and Jo the director have complex family issues to resolve but not before some very chaotic scenes involving mixed up and lost Talents.

Here is the Horn Book review and one from Nerdy Book Club.

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