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Claire Marvel

A chance meeting in a rainstorm becomes the defining moment of transforming emotion for graduate students Claire Marvel and Julian Rose, two people whose hearts have long been protected behind walls of wit, intelligence, and innate caution. Neither could imagine what lies in store them: the unexpected unfolding over a dozen years of a great and difficult love.

Moving between Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, and the hushed, timeless countryside of France, John Burnham Schwartz explores the many aspects of emotional commitment and the fear of giving oneself to another: in father-son relationships, in marriage, and in the ecstasy and elation of an elusive but compelling passion. Here is a novel that plumbs with wisdom and compassion the hidden regrets, enduring hopes, and guiding mysteries of a bond stronger than reason. Masterfully written, Claire Marvel is a love story for our time, and a brilliant achievement.


“In this age of glorious literary excess, of high conceptualizing and big novelizing, it takes some courage to write a simple love story… John Burnham Schwartz takes the risk in his third novel, writing, spare, elegant prose.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Rich, passionate prose that echoes the intense feeling between young lovers.”
—Chicago Tribune

“A beautifully told love story.”
—Harper’s Bazaar
“You’ll want to finish this most seductive book in one sitting. Don’t. Put it down and let it color your dreamscape. The characters are that vivid, the book so wise you will be moved and enriched.”
—Frank McCourt