Books by Clifford Chase

THE TOOTH FAIRY by Clifford Chase
Released: Feb. 6, 2014

"Coherence is a contrivance of any life story, Chase implies in his candid and insightful memoir; some truths may be shared in words, others hidden between the lines."
Fragments come together to reveal a life. Read full book review >
WINKIE by Clifford Chase
Released: July 10, 2006

"Chase makes this out-of-left-field story work brilliantly; a funny and sweet yet seriously topical novel."
The emotional and moral torments of a teddy bear drive this surprisingly effective allegory of our terror-stricken times. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1995

Chase contemplates the burdens of family in the aftermath of his brother's death from AIDS. The author, whose work has appeared in several literary journals and anthologies, was exceptionally close to his older brother Ken during their San Jose childhood, despite a six-year age difference. The brothers collaborated on cartoons and invented a cast of puppet characters, creating a private refuge against the adult world. Both brothers grew up to be gay, which served as a further point of solidarity in a family whose members (including three much older siblings) seem all to have been in continual emotional deadlock with one another. Between his mother's complaints about her job in a wig shop and his father's brooding presence hurling racist epithets at the TV, Chase gives a credible account of suburban angst: ``My parents...were often angry when we were growing up. It always frightened me, and I came to believe that the world, and everyone in it, was above all volatile.'' He tells of losing Ken not only to death but also, in another sense, to his parents: The brothers' solidarity weakens as their parents unexpectedly provide the compassionate full-time care Ken requires during a late stretch of his illness. This realignment of family alliances is presented convincingly as a wrenching dilemma. Chase weaves his memoir with thematic threads that are sometimes brilliantly chosen: Both of his parents were raised as Christian Scientists, and Chase tells of his grandmother, a diabetic who loved sweets, accepting the gift of a get-well cake from a fellow churchgoer and commenting, ``Love can't hurt me.'' The grandmother soon died because of that sort of love, of course, and the entire chapter that follows delineates the endless ironies called up by his grandmother's words, particularly, although Chase doesn't stress the point, in reference to AIDS. A quiet, eloquent memoir that admirably avoids sentimental histrionics. Read full book review >