Books

Dog-Eared Books in Ames hosts launch for Aprille Clarke’s debut novel

Aprille Clarke is returning to her hometown of Ames to launch her debut novel, “The Case of Elena and All That Went Wrong,” at 6:30 pm Sunday at Dog-Eared Books.

Clarke’s book is a magical realism collection of interlocking short stories, which feature overlapping characters and share plot threads.

Clarke is a 1995 graduate of Ames High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and her MFA in comparative literature-translation at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where she lives with her spouse and three kids.

As an undergraduate student studying Spanish, Clarke found herself reading Latin American short stories.

“It’s the foundation of magical realism as a genre, so that got me intrigued in that direction of magical and bizarre things happening in a quotidian context — a daily-life kind of world where strange things happen to people,” Clarke said.

Clarke combines this magical realism with overlapping short stories, a trend she became fond of while reading some American authors.

“I wanted to combine those influences and make a world of my own,” she said.

Author Aprille Clarke, who grew up in Ames, is launching her first novel at 6:30 pm Sunday at Dog-Eared Books in Ames.  Now living in Iowa City, Clarke's book,

Each chapter in Clarke’s novel is titled to begin with the words “The Case of.” For example, the first chapter is “The Case of Clair, the Reverse Kangaroo.”

Clair is the mother of the title character, Elena. When Clair gets stressed out, time stops.

“It lets her work through her frustrations and emotions before the world turns back on. That’s something I’ve often wished I could do when things get overwhelming,” Clarke said. “It’s kind of a fantasy fulfillment of mine, I think. But it goes in some different directions in Clair’s case.”

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