Farley and Claire: A Love Story
Published by: Greystone Books
Imprint: Greystone Books
Sales Date: 2023-10-17
Published: October 2023
Imprint: Greystone Books
Page Count: 384 Pages
Illustrations: B&W photo insert
Dimensions: 6.10 x 9.10
384 Pages, 6.10 x 9.10 x 1.10 in, B&W photo insert
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“Farley and Claire is a love story, a biography, a Tale of Two Farleys, or perhaps three: the public one, the private one, and the secret one.”—Margaret Atwood
The tumultuous, enduring love story between iconic writer Farley Mowat and his wife Claire, including excerpts from their passionate letters, published here for the first time.
When Farley Mowat met Claire Wheeler in August 1960, the attraction was immediate, and within days they were lovers, despite the fact that Farley was already married. Their affair—partly aided and abetted by publisher Jack McClelland—included an extended correspondence until several years later, when Farley finally obtained a Mexican divorce and the two were married in Texas. They were together until Farley’s death 54 years later.
Claire, a brilliant diarist, has given author Michael Harris complete access to her journals and letters, as well as Farley’s letters, and Harris has conducted extensive interviews with her and original research. The result is a literary love story for the ages, complete with photos of the couple who defied conventions of their time to be together.
Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
"[R]ecounts the passionate love affair between Farley Mowat, a Canadian naturalist and popular environmental author, and Claire Wheeler, his second wife... A revealing look inside a literary love affair."
"Great love stories involve intense passion and a monumental impediment to its fulfilment. Farley and Claire is one such tumultuous, whirlpool of a love story that makes us long to be lovestruck again, and beloved."
—Susan Musgrave, author of Exculpatory Lilies
"Farley and Claire is a gripping and surprisingly suspenseful story of two writers in love that takes us on a ribald, rollicking journey full of books, boats, voyages, friendships, and feuds."
—Stephen Mayer, journalist and author of Salvage
"Michael Harris, ace investigative journalist, uses his skills to lay bare secrets of the human heart, and he triumphs. He’s got the documents—fiery, frank, lusty letters between emerging icon Farley Mowat and the young Claire Wheeler—as their creative souls merge and clash."
—David Beers, Founding Editor, The Tyee
"Michael Harris's beautifully written and richly detailed Farley and Claire: A Love Story is both laugh-out-loud entertaining and heartbreaking. Told with so much colour, grace, and style, this great love story between Canadian author Farley Mowat and Claire Wheeler is a page-turner and a beautiful book."
—Kate Malloy, Editor, The Hill Times
"Delving through 54 years of love letters between the irascible Farley Mowat and the lovely Claire Wheeler, Harris traces the arc of a Canadian marriage like no other, yet somehow like every other marriage: a country of dark forests, graceful clearings, and deep waters that sustain our thirst for love. Readers will find this stark romance between two very different soul-friends the right sort of tonic for these hateful times."
—Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Empire of the Beetle and The Energy of Slaves
"Farley Mowat was Canada's greatest iconoclastic environmental icon—fearless, uncompromising, and mischievous. Michael Harris reveals another Farley—angst-ridden and focused on Claire, the love of his life, enmeshed in the strictures and values of a time now gone. I wept, laughed, and commiserated as I followed this amazing love story with a happy ending."
"Farley and Claire is a love story as intimate and enduring as the love it portrays."
—Wayne Grady, author of Pandexicon and The Good Father
"I proudly published the remarkable Farley, and knew Claire for many years, but now find that their greatest work—about their love—was hidden and is now revealed here so unforgettably by Michael Harris."
—Douglas Gibson, former President and Publisher of McClelland & Stewart and author of Across Canada by Story