Claire of the Moon by Nicole Conn
Review by Katie Danielson, Spring 2012
Claire of the Moon, written by Nicole Conn, centers on the development of a relationship between two women living as roommates at an all women writer’s retreat. Dr. Noel Benedict is a reserved, professional psychiatrist haunted by memories of her ex-girlfriend. Claire Jabrowski is the exact opposite. Her restless, promiscuous spirit conflicts with Noel’s mentality and the two women avoid one another as frequently as possible; but as the weeks pass and Noel and Claire learn more about one another, they develop a mutual curiosity.
The main themes in the novel center on the difference between heterosexual relationships and lesbian relationships and the quest for true intimacy. Does it exist? Why and how have we lost the ability to truly communicate? The women at the retreat all voice their opinions and answers to these main themes and their conflicting opinions offer a rich, academic, and challenging dialogue.
Conn writes the developing relationship between Noel and Claire in a way that creates an interest for the reader. Their conflicting personalities make for stimulating conversation and intriguing chemistry.
One excerpt I found particularly intriguing was the following:
“Claire flinched. Noel disregarded it, changed the subject. “I find it easy to drink here.” “Bars do have that effect.” Claire was defensive. “No. I mean hear. At the beach.” Noel knew far too well, from a clinical standpoint, about alcohol abuse. Especially with lesbians who had lost their families, their sense of self in a society that shunned them or simply didn’t recognize them—the shame, the guilt, the grief and humiliation that danced attendance upon their consciousness as they grappled with this new aspect of themselves. How gently the intoxicating elixir lulled the painful memories, anesthetized misery and loneliness, kept intimacy at elbow-bending length. The irony was that it also gave one courage to break down those barriers, as she and Claire were now chipping at their [own.]”