Beth Ann Hooper
The Roots That Clutch
“The Roots That Clutch should be on the short list for every book club in the world.”
Fred Bannister, Texas teacher ★★★★★
Joan Levine, New York poet and writer ★★★★★
“A compelling mix of poignancy, hopefulness, and of course, poetic justice.”
Lit Amri ★★★★★
“Overall […] a compelling read.”
Lisa Jones of Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★
“A great read… I wanted more.”
Rosalyn Baxandall ★★★★★
“An utterly engaging, delicious read.”
Phyllis E. Ring, writer ★★★★★
“This was a book I read, not once, but twice, as it beckoned to me.”
D.B. Moone, writer, editor, book reviewer ★★★★★
Bert Bukman, Dutch writer and journalist ★★★★★
Independent Press Award:
Winner Best Book Cover Design Non-Fiction 2024
Distinguished Favorite World Literature 2024
About the book
Poets and scholars.
Gatekeepers and rites of passage.
Family secrets and literary scandals.
Betrayal and poetic justice.
The Roots That Clutch tells the haunting true-story of how a young woman discovered through her PhD research on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound that her grandmother had had an affair with the other great American Modernist, William Carlos Williams. She also discovers that her father may be the biological child of Williams.
The story is told through the experiences of the author’s persona Jane. Written as a Bildungsroman, the novel takes place at universities and manuscript libraries in Europe and the United States over the span of 21 years. The unmistakable themes of betrayal, destiny and poetic justice are woven into the tapestry of the novel. Though as a student she is constantly the victim of academic politics and betrayals between professors, Jane is supported by a few well-connected scholars who believe her innate insight into poetry could offer vastly new perspectives in the field. Despite the never-ending struggle to continue, Jane is pushed along by an unquenchable hunch that she must not give up. As Jane slowly unravels the poetic connections between Eliot, Pound and their immediate late-nineteenth century British predecessors, she stumbles upon Eliot’s unpublished letters to Pound. Jane soon discovers that betrayal is not only an academic’s trade secret, but also a poet’s.
Then, her father decides she should have a family heirloom that was her grandmother’s. It contains an inscription from Williams in it, who like Jane, had always distrusted T.S. Eliot.