#BookReview Clear by Carys Davies @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #CarysDavies #Clear #SimonSchusterCA Title: Clear

Author: Carys Davies

Published by: Scribner on Apr. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 208

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

A stunning, exquisite novel from an award-winning writer about a minister dispatched to a remote island off of Scotland to “clear” the last remaining inhabitant, who has no intention of leaving—an unforgettable tale of resilience, change, and hope.

John, an impoverished Scottish minister, has accepted a job evicting the lone remaining occupant of an island north of Scotland—Ivar, who has been living alone for decades, with only the animals and the sea for company. Though his wife, Mary, has serious misgivings about the errand, he decides to go anyway, setting in motion a chain of events that neither he nor Mary could have predicted.

Shortly after John reaches the island, he falls down a cliff and is found, unconscious and badly injured, by Ivar who takes him home and tends to his wounds. The two men do not speak a common language, but as John builds a dictionary of Ivar’s world, they learn to communicate and, as Ivar sees himself for the first time in decades reflected through the eyes of another person, they build a fragile, unusual connection.

Unfolding in the 1840s in the final stages of the infamous Scottish Clearances—which saw whole communities of the rural poor driven off the land in a relentless program of forced evictions—this singular, beautiful, deeply surprising novel explores the differences and connections between us, the way history shapes our deepest convictions, and how the human spirit can survive despite all odds. Moving and unpredictable, sensitive and spellbinding, Clear is a profound and pleasurable read.


Poignant, immersive, and affecting!

Clear is a raw, vivid tale that sweeps you away to 1840s Scotland and into the life of John Ferguson, a young minister who, after recently breaking away from an established church and in desperate need of money, agrees to travel to an isolated island for a landowner to expel the last remaining inhabitant living there. But things don’t turn out exactly as planned, and after sustaining an injury shortly after his arrival he awakes to find himself not only at the mercy of this larger-than-life man who speaks a language he doesn’t understand but forming an unlikely friendship that will test everything he ever knew about love and himself.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are kind, vulnerable, and strong. And the plot is an exceptionally tender tale about life, loss, friendship, strength, language, isolation, loneliness, self-discovery, revelations, belonging, and love.

Overall, Clear is a powerful, pensive, well-written story by Davies where the space between the words resonates as loudly as the words themselves and is a beautiful reminder that to love and be loved is truly one of humanity’s most fundamental needs.


This novel is available now.

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Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Carys Davies

Carys Davies’s debut novel West was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, runner-up for the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize, and winner of the Wales Book of the Year for Fiction. She is also the author of The Mission House, which was The Sunday Times (London) 2020 Novel of the Year, and two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Her other awards include the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize, the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Short Story Award, and a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Born in Wales, she lived and worked for twelve years in New York and Chicago, and now lives in Edinburgh. Clear is her most recent novel.