"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she stumbles upon Eliot�s unpublished letters to Pound.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.
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite Oftentimes our journey will lead us down a path that has completely unexpected results. That is the case with the path that Jane finds herself on in The Roots that Clutch by ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu. As Jane struggles to be a celebrated expert on T.S. Eliot, she discovers that she is in the midst of a society of old men in grey suits and must prove herself daily. She gains the support of three of the most renowned scholars on the subject, who recognize her innate abilities and take it upon themselves to nurture her in their academic discipline. The academic world is extremely political and there are plenty of betrayals. She discovers that among T.S. Eliot’s late nineteenth-century contemporaries, there are also a few secrets and betrayals. One of those secrets involves her personally in a very direct way. Though there is little doubt as to the skill and abilities used by ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu to write The Roots that Clutch, I think the average reader will find themselves lost in a world of which they understand very little; a world that is a bit stuffy and boring to the average reader. Though there are plenty of layers to the mystery for the reader to unravel, it moves rather slowly and I fear it won’t hold the reader’s attention. However, a patient reader who loves late nineteenth-century poets and poetry will likely be in heaven reading The Roots that Clutch.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite The Roots That Clutch is literary fiction written by ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu. Jane is an American student studying in the Netherlands. She was originally a political science student but changed majors to English with an emphasis on the Victorian poets. Her tutor suggests she write her Master's thesis on T.S. Eliot and the influences upon him of the poets of the 1890s. Jane's thesis has the potential to shake things up in what's a traditional and male-dominated field. The poets Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams also begin to figure in her investigations. Meanwhile, Jane's marriage to a Dutch man has been challenging for her, especially when she's trying to juggle caring for their two young daughters with her academic work. When their relationship becomes abusive, she soon finds out that the laws designed to protect abused spouses are not all they could be. ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu's literary novel, The Roots That Clutch, is an impressive work that follows a young female academic in a male-dominated field. Uslu shares with the reader the excitement and rigors of academic research and the difficulties aspiring scholars face in getting funded, finding mentors, and submitting papers for presentation and publication. Jane's research becomes a literary historical mystery as she uncovers suppressed correspondence and starts to make connections. I enjoyed reading the paper Jane presents at a conference, an added bonus in The Roots That Clutch and one that really makes the novel come alive. The Roots That Clutch is an intellectual treat and highly enjoyable literary fiction with an international flavor.
Reviewed by Carol Thompson for Readers' Favorite Author ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu describes The Roots That Clutch as a book that tells the 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 twenty-one years. What really struck me as I read this is the simplistic nature of the writing. It's very elementary with short sentences and some non-essential dialogue. It doesn't take away from the story, but doesn't add to it. The content of the book is interesting, although not convincing enough that it is indeed a true story. It is a shorter book and a quick read. I gave the book four stars because of the interesting the content. It would appeal to those who enjoy poetry and the works of William Carlos Williams. I personally liked it because it kept me guessing as to whether the story is fiction or nonfiction, which made it almost mysterious.
Reviewed by Lisa Jones for Readers' Favorite The Roots That Clutch by Sehrazad Ayse Uslu is a novel that is based on a true story. It centres around Jane who discovers the real truth while researching for her PhD. The poets in question are T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and Eliot's poem 'The Waste Land.' The further Jane digs, the more compelling the evidence. With the biggest cover up in poetic history and the firm betrayal that she believes is true, Jane prepares for her dissertation. She also discovers some truth about her heritage and then has to face some terrifying domestic violence from her husband. As her own life spirals further into the depths of despair, she focuses all of her energy into completing her studies. Sehrazad Ayse Uslu conveys her story on many different levels. The Roots That Clutch also contain some beautiful poems and documented evidence to support the true story. It is told from a feminist view in a journal style throughout the novel. I particularly like the way that Jane came up with the various links when others overlooked these crucial discrepancies. As a reader, my eyes were opened up to a whole new world of poetry and wonderful poets of the nineteenth century. I found myself unable to stop reading until I also understood Jane's findings. The novel also uncovered the truth in which some foreign countries deal with the issue of domestic violence. It would seem a woman's voice may never be heard and I found it so overwhelming that this still goes on in the present day. Overall, this novel is certainly a compelling read.
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite Based on a true story, ¿ehrazad Ay¿e Uslu’s The Roots That Clutch is about how a young woman, Jane, discovered through her PhD research on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound about her grandmother’s affair with the great American Modernist, William Carlos Williams - which further leads to a surprising family secret. I have not read a 'bildungsroman' for quite a while and The Roots That Clutch shows me why I should start reading this type of novel again. Emotionally attractive, poetically as well as historically sound, we follow her personal journey that spans 21 years and takes place at manuscript libraries in Europe and the United States, as well as universities such as Leyden and Manchester. The stodgy and conceited atmosphere that the protagonist has to endure reminds me of some of my own unpleasant moments in university back in the days. As a student, Jane is constantly the victim of academic politics, yet at the same time she is supported by a few well-connected scholars who believe in her innate perspective in poetry. It is vividly written with the protagonist’s personal formative years revolving around her family secret of William Carlos Williams, an iconic figure in modern literature. Her failed marriage is another big wrench thrown into her life, but Jane soldiers on as she slowly unravels the deeper connections between Eliot, Pound, and their late nineteenth century British predecessors. On the whole, Uslu’s work is multi-layered and undeniably a compelling mix of poignancy, hopefulness, and of course, poetic justice.