`I mean, whatever you do, make sure you stay one step ahead of the second hand.’ These are just some of the wise and wily words spoken by Uncle Mooks, our main character Jason Lee’s Vietnam War veteran uncle, and this terrifically successful book is just brimming over with such bits of insight and wisdom and humor and a true taste of the Southern lingo. The theme of time ticks through every chapter and phrases such as `Time make the decision, not you’ bounce off the page as little gems of writing that author Nancy Klann-Moren offers in this her first novel.
When we come across such polished skill as this novel demonstrates it is wise to look into the background of the author, and in doing so the following was found: `While traveling for my work in advertising and marketing, I began to write short fiction. That led to signing up for writing classes, writer’s conferences and local workshops. The goal was to create unique stories told in a distinctive voice. My short stories evolved, and were my primary genre until the day I stood up in a workshop and read an excerpt. The instructor said, “What are you doing the next couple years, because what you wrote is a novel.” I took up the challenge and produced the novel, “The Clock of Life.” My collection of short stories is titled “Like The Flies On The Patio.” I’m now working on a new novel tentatively titled “In Search of Doris.” ‘ It is that kind of success when it catches up to a writer of such warmth and honesty that makes us want to eagerly follow her incipient career.
THE CLOCK OF LIFE opens in 1974 in Hadlee, Mississippi where we meet seven-year-old Jason Lee Rainey, a young lad whose best friend is an African American boy of the same age – Samuel Johnson. Jason Lee lives with Uncle Mooks and Mama (twins at birth) and we learn that his father was killed in Vietnam. In these facts – the South during the Civil Rights movement and the post Vietnam War era – lie all the intricacies of the tapestry the author has woven that the clock of history imposed on this country and us. It is a coming of age story but not only for our little hero: this is a coming of age story for a nation, a family, the rampant racism in the South, a revisiting of the lynchings and the loss of friends and loved ones, and the haunting memories of never having known a parent and the odyssey to finding that core of self that somehow in this setting is all the more poignant.
Share no more because the book unravels its tale so well. This is not only a fine read, this is an important novel by an important new voice in the art of blending fiction and fact and making sense of it all. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, of Literary Aficionado