by Eugen Bacon
A book review by weird fantasy & speculative fiction author Ted Fauster
To borrow a phrase from the novel, CLAIMING T-MO is told through the masterfully interwoven “color of language.”
From the dust jacket, you might expect a paranormal sci-fi type of read–elements of which this book certainly contains–but it soon becomes clear this is far more than any typical genre romp.
The eponymous character is the son of a mystical priest and his child bride, and the story orbits around his life. But there is so much more here than meets the eye.
It would have been easy to place the point of view on T-Mo, but he’s not what this book is about. From the very beginning, the character of T-Mo is split, a soul divided by arrogance and love, into two halves: one belonging to his mother, who chose his true name at birth; and the other corrupted by his tyrannical father, who broke with convention by demanding his son be called Odysseus.
Therein lies the true roots of the story. CLAIMING T-MO is really about how evil can seduce the innocent, about how raw power and hubris can damage the psyche, causing that pain to echo and brand generations of women, how foolish choices and unconditional love mix like oil and water. Through it all, numerous lives are damaged. That said, the book sums up very satisfyingly in the only way it can.
Reading this book is like swimming through a dream. The language and conventions used carry the very savory tang of the paranormal, although this is truly a literary novel. At times, I felt like I was floating along like a balloon, enraptured by the tone and choice of words. Bacon is a poet of the highest order.
If this is Bacon’s first novel, I eagerly look forward to her next.