Şehrazad Ayşe Uslu
The Roots That Clutch
Bert Bukman, Dutch writer and journalist (5 stars)
Joan Levine, New York poet and writer (5 stars)
“A compelling mix of poignancy, hopefulness, and of course, poetic justice.”
Lit Amri (5 stars)
“Overall […] a compelling read.”
Lisa Jones of Readers’ Favorite (5 stars)
“An intellectual treat […] highly enjoyable literary fiction with an international flavor.”
Jack Magnus of Readers’ Favorite (5 stars)
“Poetry lovers […] will be in heaven.”
Bil Howard of Readers’ Favorite (4 stars)
“It kept me guessing […] mysterious.”
Carol Thompson of Readers’ Favorite (4 stars)
About the book
Poets and scholars.
Gatekeepers and rites of passage.
Family secrets and literary scandals.
Betrayal and poetic justice.
The Roots That Clutch tells the haunting true-story about how a young woman discovered through her PhD research on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound that her grandmother had had an affair with the other great American Modernist, William Carlos Williams. She also discovers that her father may be the biological child of Williams.
The story is told through the experiences of the author’s persona Jane. Written as a Bildungsroman, the novel takes place at universities and manuscript libraries in Europe and the United States over the span of 21 years. The unmistakable themes of betrayal, destiny and poetic justice are woven into the tapestry of the novel. Though as a student she is constantly the victim of academic politics and betrayals between professors, Jane is supported by a few well-connected scholars who believe her innate insight into poetry could offer vastly new perspectives in the field. Despite the never-ending struggle to continue, Jane is pushed along by an unquenchable hunch that she must not give up. As Jane slowly unravels the poetic connections between Eliot, Pound and their immediate late-nineteenth century British predecessors, she stumbles upon Eliot’s unpublished letters to Pound. Jane soon discovers that betrayal is not only an academic’s trade secret, but also a poet’s.
Then, her father decides she should have a family heirloom that was her grandmother’s. It contains an inscription from Williams in it, who like Jane, had always distrusted T.S. Eliot.