The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Corrosion of friendship

Noel Grima Wednesday, 26 August 2020, 10:29 Last update: about 3 months ago

‘Sister Clara: Il-mara midinba’. Authors: Salv Sammut. Publisher: Horizons / 2020. Pages: 361pp

A group of four friends, two males and two young women, who work in the same company, decide to go on holiday together.

But they underestimated the destructive power of jealousy. It only required that one of these four is jealous and every bond between the four gets undermined. And any friendship between the four just disintegrates.

The author tries to investigate how the jealous person, who otherwise is a loving and caring person, became such a destructive and hurtful person and comes up with a story of child abuse - a rather flimsy explanation for what happens later, I think.

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But the jealous person is not completely wicked. There is a deep-seated vein of asceticism in Sister Clara, a readiness to help others and an intuitive understanding of what ails others.

This does not explain away the inventiveness and destructive power of her jealousy which stops at nothing in her vindictiveness. She grasps at every opportunity where another person would not realise and stops at nothing.

This is, I believe, the second time that the author, like others in the Maltese context, tackles the subject of flawed religious persons although personally I think the flawed priest in Fid-Dell tal-Pelikan is a more attractive person than vindictive Sister Clara.


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