The Clasp by Sloane Crosley


I’m conflicted about this book, have you read it? Because let’s discuss.

The Clasp is the first book I’ve read by Sloane Crosley, and she has such a talent for observation and detail that I’m now going to read everything else she’s written. And I can’t wait.

That said, the momentum and my character investment waned so abruptly that I didn’t even bother to finish the last seventy-two pages. I was 300 pages in when all the air went out of my tires, so I just skimmed to the end. Wehhhhhhh.

Have you ever had sex with someone you’ve built up in your mind, and it’s electric at first, but then he does his thing and rolls over to sleep? This book was like that.

Still, that electric part though. My favorite parts of The Clasp:

“The groomsmen’s jackets had come off. The women had grown shorter over the course of the evening.”

“Inside, Meredith’s husband, Michael, was wearing mint-green drawstring pants and opening a bag of frozen shrimp with a corkscrew.”

“She hated Los Angeles as a concept, but she also hated it on a personal level… Kezia had been told, by people trying to befriend her, that she should inject stroke medication into her forehead, how many calories were in her meal, which stylist had dropped a bracelt down the toilet, how to minimize undereye bags, all leading a few drinks later, to stories of molesting uncles and first loves who had perished in car accidents. ‘Anyway, should we split the burrata?'”

“He had reflexively touched her when she offered to show him her pirouette, last performed when she was seven years old and executed with all the grace of a human that age. He caught her in his arms before she fell headlong into a bamboo chair. She did not scramble to remove her weight but stayed limp, as if he had dipped her. Women had used this tactic with him before. Generally it took the form of drunken cartwheels in his living room or hand slapping games he did not want to learn. He know what they were doing. They were aiming for charm but missing the mark; their actions seemed to say, ‘I have the carefree joy of a prepubescent girl. So please fuck me.'”

So you see what I mean about talent. There was more. You should really read the first half of this book, guys.


Raynaud’s phenomenon is excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold or emotional stress, causing discoloration of the fingers, toes, and occasionally other areas.

U-bet chocolate syrup

An alcove studio is the same as a studio apartment with an additional space off the living room.

slitchiness This was a weird one, I think she means the sound of voluminous women’s clothing in motion, but the only ref I could find for slitchy was as a slang term meaning bitchy or slutty.

solopsism (a word I should know by now) the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist

Okay! Have you read it or any of Crosley’s other stuff? Tell me your things.

P.S. If you’re on Goodreads, I am also on Goodreads. Nerd party!

8 thoughts on “The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

  1. I read Crosley’s I was Told There Would Be Cake and had similar feelings. Her writing I LOVE, truly vibrant, surprising and funny. And this is a book of essays so I don’t expect a major plot arc, but I kept wanting it to build to something. Instead it ended so abruptly without any real learning or development for the reader or the people in the book. What’s the point? Oh, there isn’t one. Exactly like being told there would be cake, and then discovering there’s none at all. Hmm. Sorry Sloane, better luck next time!


  2. Oh no! I was hoping it was just a “this is my first crack at fiction” thing. Still, worth reading her just for the gems. I feel like it might also be that she labors over the first half of books, rewrites and rewrites, and then finishes the second half on deadline. All of us have been there, and it feels like books are held to timelines now in a way they weren’t pre-Internet. Talking out my bum there, but maybe?


  3. I asked people about this recently, and they provided a big list of women authors in comments. This is tough for me, because I used to hate taking recs, but now I look at them and then go to a bookstore or Amazon with a list. I read the first few pages, or the back of the book, see how I like the cover and the feel in my hands and choose that way. If I don’t want to read past the first few pages, I rarely want to read the book.


  4. I bought it on a whim when someone I respect recommended it (and I am picky with book purchases–I usually just check them out from the library). I HATED IT.
    I could not bring myself to care one iota about any of the characters. Good writing usually redeems mediocre novels for me, but not this time.


  5. I’m with Kate. I read it and hated it. Now that I have some distance from it, I could totally appreciate your excerpts as displaying her artistry, but at the time GAHHHHHHH I just wanted to punch something after finishing The Clasp.


  6. I LOVE her short stories, but I could not finish The Clasp. I loved most of the part I read, but nope, not going to pick it up again.


  7. Ditto Ryan Elizabeth: I wonder if she’s just a short story writer by heart, without the stamina for novel-length writing? I find this true of a lot of exceptionally talented writers and want to hug them and exclaim: IT’S OKAY! Being a great Short Story Writer is a huge achievement! You don’t need to be a novelist to succeed as a writer! Please!


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