Clarkwoods Literary Universe

2 June 2019

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The Clarkwoods Literary Universe (CLU) was introduced with the 2002 publication of Those Little Bastards. It is a series of interconnected short stories and books written by E. Christopher Clark. In fact, every published work of prose and every publicly performed play by Clark is canon thanks to the cyclical nature of reality in the CLU.

 

The central figures in the CLU are the members of the Massachusetts-based Silver Family. According to the historical record, the Silvers are the descendants of a British mariner called John. According to family lore, they are also the descendants of Judas himself.  

As Matt Silver once wrote:

 

As the story went, we Silvers were descended from Judas himself. The Judas. Our surname, Grampy told us, was like a flag of shame we’d flown in hopes of redemption ever since. And if we didn’t shape up, then we might as well tear up the tickets to heaven for all the Silvers gone by and all the Silvers yet to come.

That was the first time I heard the story, but it certainly wasn’t the last. In fact, Grampy dropped it from his repertoire only upon the occasion of my intimation, at the wise old age of the thirteen, after a long weekend lost in the pages of Nietzche, that perhaps our name was less Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter and more Harry Fleming’s red badge of courage. What exactly I meant by that, I could scarcely tell you today. I don’t suppose I knew what I was talking about, even then. But, regardless, it was enough cheek to garner as severe a look from Grampy as I ever did see, a look that seemed to suggest I had finally read one too many books for my own good.

 

Beyond its focus on the Silvers, the CLU is notable for its imaginative and extensive use of time travel. Whether characters step directly through The Veil of the World found in the alley behind The Strumpet's Sister or imbibe draughts conjured from The River Without End, many of their most notable adventures involve confrontations with their past selves.

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