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Clotho's Loom: A Novel of Literary Romance…

Clotho's Loom: A Novel of Literary Romance and Realism

by Shawn StJean

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Clotho's Loom is a story of Will and Nexus, a married couple, going though a difficult time due to the demands of work. Will was a sniper when he was younger and was re-drafted at the age of 39.. He did not want to go back into the service and did not tell his wife Nexus about it. One night he needed to clear his head and decided to go to one of his old stomping grounds which had changed since the days he was there. It was more of a meeting place for middle eastern people, one of whom happened to be a student of his. That chance meeting changed the course of Will's life. He disappeared from his life with Nexus and that's when the story really starts.

The characters are well developed and the details of their surroundings are very detailed. It is written as two stories, chapters alternate between Will's and Nexus' lives, their struggles, misfortunes and their will to survive.

I found this book very interesting and recommend it. ( )
  JoyceMG3 | Feb 24, 2013 |
In the interests of Full Disclosure, let me note three things. A: this is a serious book, which deserves not merely reading, but deserves, even demands serious attention. B: this Review will be extended and modified over time, but appears now in its present state, as I think further delay would be unfair both to the Author and to potential readers. C: while this in no way prejudices my evaluation, the Author exchanged novels with me, on my suggestion; I expect that he will find mine equally challenging, though for rather different reasons.
If one doesn't recognize the allusion in this book's title, or is unwilling to look it up, then that person probably lacks the moxie to make much of this five-hundred page psycho-philosophical work. Those who DO recognize Clotho, the Fate who spins the thread of human desitiny, should understand that this memorable story is a prolonged -- a hostile critic might say -- excessively prolonged, even distended -- meditation in why and how we travel our various paths. For reasons which we must accept -- lest the whole massive structure fall apart before it rises -- the two protagonists, William and the curiously-named Nexus, are almost entirely devoid of even the simplest ability to make choices. Odd as that may seem at first blush, this isn't an implausible human situation. Soon enough, however, we know that we're not in Kansas anymore when we find that these two young Americans (born, say in the late 1960s), have somehow managed to become married to each other: again, not appetizing, either in literature or in life, but still not totally indigestible.
Then however, things take an abrupt turn, and in one of this Author's most skilled moves, he throws William into the nightmarish situation opf being re-inducted into the United States Armed Forces -- ater having already served almost twenty years ago. Even without the Hell-drift which is American life during the "War on Terror", this is pretty scary stuff. Now, though, for reasons we are left to ponder, essentially through the entire book, Will neither resists this action -- nor even tells his wife about! She being not merely his Life's companion, but also an attorney, would have reacted in any number of ways which any of us might do. But in the absence of information, she is simply (ha!) deserted, with the extra surprise of finding-out that she is pregnant. From that point, the story runs on parallel tracks, with William and Nexus working-out their various destinies, she as a attorney in a hugh firm described in endless mind-numbing detail, he as a sharpshooter/sniper in some unidentied but theatre of war East of Suez, though I suppose it might just be Somalia.
Till now I've deliberately withheld a vital piece of information, lest a reader break into hysterical giggling and vow never to touch this book. As wild as it seems, far from cooperating in his new call to arms, Willliam lets himself be recruited for the unidentified Enemy, and is smuggled out of the US to undergo nightmarish training -- described with tremendous, draining, nightmarish power -- and then posted into rough country to kill a local war-lord. He does his job, is terribly wounded, and comes home.
Which is a little like saying that New York City is a wide spot in the road from Albany to Trenton. Willam's experiences and the various states of consciousness are so complex, that by the end of the book -- and I must at this point omit any further reference to Nexus and her preganancy, except to say that there IS a sort of re-union -- I suspected that I had missed, despite close reading, a point where the events had lost any connectionm to external reality, and were taking place almost entirely in William's head. Whew.
In addition to being a long-thought-out piece, CLOTHO'S LOOM is also a pretty well-written one. I believe I owe it to the Author, and to the reader, to return to this Review and quote some of his better-wrought prose. At the same time, I must say that the further he reaches for a figure of speech, the likelier he is to fall on his face -- and so he does, sometimes: splat.
OK, I think I've given the temptin' taste which I want you all to share. Anybody who's attempted serious reviewing knows that the toughest books are the ones worth reading despite serious flaws, and CLOTHO'S LOOM is surely one of those. There is so much mind-candy passed of as fiction these days that we should all be grateful for some serious with some real substance -- even if it requires extra chewing.
A practical matter: Shawn StJean (pronounced "Saint Gene") is a LibraryThing participant, and copies of his work can ultimately be obtained by communicating with him. I think it's also on eBay (as a Buy It Now item). Incidentally, I for one hope to see more of his work available soon. ( )
2 vote HarryMacDonald | Feb 13, 2013 |
I found the beginning of this book to be interesting, but, as the book progressed, it became more difficult to differentiate between Will's actual experiences and dreams. I did have quite a few questions that did not seem to be resolved. There was too much of the book sounding like it wanted to be mythology and not enough of a connection between the two main characters to make the reader care about their relationship. Will seemed to have no real backbone nor morality. It would have been more enjoyable if some of Will's experiences had been a bit more abbreviated. I received this book in exchange for my review as an Early Reviewer. ( )
  graffitimom | Feb 3, 2013 |
I'm sorry to say that this just wasn't a book for me. We spent far too much time inside the main characters' heads as isolated beings. They didn't actively interact with each other or others nearly enough. I found it far too depressing to keep my interest: these two little islands who can't tell each other the truth when it matters. ( )
  leesalogic | Jan 2, 2013 |
Clotho’s Loom is really the story of a man and woman who met and married before they were ready. They are torn apart just at the moment when they should most be together, her mid-life pregnancy. The next year is devoted to adventures that mature them, while they seek reunion. While all events, like Will’s military reactivation, appear to conspire against them, StJean questions whether the forces of chance and so-called Fate, as well as ignorant human will, are not actually working together for ultimate good. ( )
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  stjean | Aug 14, 2012 |
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In a quiet house, in the protracted hours of early morning, nothing apparent to the eye moved--not even the man who sat in the kitchen, staring. A fresh, tall glass of icewater stood within reach, yet seemed remote on the plain of table stretched before him. He desired it, yet now that he had settled, he did not wish to move; he wished nothing to move. He felt terrible. Shadows of blinds in window frames, painted by the rising sun, did creep their way along the floor, though so imperceptibly that any ant, burdened by a crumb, might slip their confinement. The temperature in the room climbed by half-degrees. The man blinked and watched, though in his torpor refused to acknowledge, a microcosm of activity taking place before him: the temperature in the glass fell, then, in a swing like a pendulum-arc, syncing itself with its environment, rose. Droplets formed on the outer surface. An ice cube popped and tumbled. Solid to liquid to ether to energy. His dark eye and dormant brain knew little of the way of these things. He stretched out his hand lethargically, brought the sweaty glass to his lips, and abruptly drained it.
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Clotho’s Loom is the story of a man and woman who met and married before they were ready. They are torn apart just at the moment when they should most be together, her mid-life pregnancy. The next year is devoted to adventures that mature them, while they seek reunion. While all events, like Will’s military reactivation, appear to conspire against them, StJean questions whether the forces of chance and so-called Fate, as well as ignorant human will, are not actually working together for ultimate good.
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Shawn StJean is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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