The Oysters of Locmariaquer
Eleanor Clark travelled in the mid-twentieth century's elite literary and cultural circles. Born in 1913, she grew up on a Connecticut farm with her sister. Their Vassar educated mother planted and fed the sister's intellectual vigor by equipping them with a broad classic education. By college the sisters spoke fluent French, Italian and Latin. Eleanor attended Vassars and did PhD work but left without a degree. A youthful follower of Leon Trotsky, she translated works for Trotsky during his excile in Mexico in the house belonging to Frida Kahlo's parents. During Clark's youth her mother took Eleanor and her sister to Brittany, France and Italy and she returns to write The Oysters of Locmariaquer and enfuses her first hand experience with extensive research and gives us a view of an enclave of the late 19th century crawling into the 20th through the eyes of a mid-century intellectual. In her vibrant and literate writing style, Eleanor Clark introduces us to oysters and a way of life and the people that depended on them. She hands us the culture and history of oysters, the area, and the people. We learn everything from the trials and tribulations of living a life dependent on oysters, to the personalities of the different people involved and their faults and foibles, the religion, the nuns in the school, the research and government efforts to save the oysters, and everything else connected with the community and the bivalve. Clark writes with such energy and insight that the reader will have trouble putting the book down.