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Claiming T-Mo (2019)

by Eugen Bacon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1361,236,394 (3.9)None
In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy's lifetime â from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I gave up on this book.

While the prose was good, the imperfect formatting of the ARC was hard to get by and took more concentration to ignore than the story line was worth. ( )
  gbraden | Nov 26, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I agree with the previous reviewers about the eloquent way this book is written, at times maybe too eloquent as I had to go back and re read passages frequently, which of course interrupts the flow of reading. I spent a lot of time being confused at the beginning of this story, often wondering if I’d missed something, and I felt often some explanations were left out.
This story includes lots of interesting and intriguing concepts and alternate universes/dimensions and was certainly a unique read gifting and giving the reader with much substance.
  TinaC1 | Jun 5, 2019 |
On the matriarchal planet of Grovea Silhouette gives birth to her son: as the first wife of Novic, an immortal Sayneth priest, she is helped by six midwives. According to Grovean tradition the mother always names the child and Silhouette called her son T-Mo. However, as soon as Novic sees him he decides he should be named Odysseus, “the travelling one”. This flouting of tradition is to have repercussions throughout the child’s life, with his Jekyll-and-Hyde characteristics being apparent from his earliest days. T-Mo loved to be held and nurtured by his mother, whilst Odysseus rejected her physical contact and, under the influence of his father, became cunning, greedy and strong, always looking to his father, even as an infant. This tale follows the boy’s life, from his early years on planet Grovea with his mother, to his travels to Earth, where he meets and marries Salem with whom he has a hybrid daughter called Myra. Through the eyes of the three women the reader discovers how each of them negotiates their relationship with T-Mo/Odysseus as they attempt to understand, accommodate and survive the effects of his split personality. They must discover how to appreciate his loving goodness and reject his violent darkness and, in the process, gain personal strength and confidence.
Although there are elements of fantasy, science fiction, magic, hybrid characters, interplanetary travel and shape-shifting characters in this enthralling story, it is its thought-provoking complexity and its essential humanity which make it so much more than the sum of these labels. I was certainly able to immerse myself in, and enjoy, the other-worldly fantasy elements of the story-telling, but what made it outstanding for me was how the author combined this fantastical world with so many immediately recognisable contemporary themes – including domestic abuse, violence, racism, bigotry, bullying, feminism, political manipulation, rape as a weapon of war, refugees, immigration, living in exile, justice and retribution. Her explorations of how people discover who they are, how they manage to cope with difference, to discover their inner strengths and how they learn to understand and to relate to others, are central to the development of the story. Through her characters she highlights that, whoever you are, and wherever you come from, the need to find your place in your world, and to find loving relationships, is a universal quest.
I don’t want to go into any detail about how the story evolves because I think it’s important to accompany each of the characters as they negotiate their journeys of self-discovery, and to immerse yourself in the different worlds they inhabit. However, the author’s portrayal of her characters’ personalities and their evolving relationships has a psychological integrity which is both compassionate and impressive. I loved the fact that her female characters discovered within themselves the strength to face and overcome challenges in their lives and relationships and to be supportive of one another. I felt totally drawn into their worlds, enveloped in a magical world which felt both different and yet familiar. I found myself laughing with them, crying with them, despairing with them to such an extent that they remain vivid in my memory and I find myself wondering how life is for them now! I think that a large part of the reason for this is that the author’s vivid imagery drew me into the worlds they were inhabiting in a powerful, almost visceral way. In addition to the main characters, the more minor ones were as richly drawn, with each making an essential contribution to the development of the story. However, I particularly fell in love with wise, omnipresent Miss Potty and Red, the singing plant who was capable of sulking!
Although Eugen Bacon has won many awards for short stories, this is her debut novel and I find it hard to believe that it won’t attract similar critical acclaim. Her eloquent, elegant and lyrical prose gripped me from the very first sentence of this immensely passionate, moving and thought-provoking story, and it continued to do so until I closed the final page. My involuntary exclamation as I finished was WOW – rather lacking the author’s eloquence, but a heartfelt reflection of the power of this amazing, magical book. So, thank you to Eugen for writing it, and to Meerkat Press for providing me with the opportunity to read it prior to its publication. ( )
  linda.a. | May 27, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book for an honest review. This is a story that did not fit my tastes, although the summary sounded very interesting. It was a bit hard to read and follow the story line for me. I'm sure this story would be very interesting for others, just not for me. ( )
  scmerritt | May 20, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
On a matriarchal planet, Silhouette gives birth to a child conceived with the priest of a religion from another planet. In Silhouette’s world, the mother names the child, and she calls him T-Mo; but the priest demands the naming right and calls the child Odysseus. T-Mo is deeply beloved and endlessly curious, Odysseus is bent on power and destroying everything in sight. And the two, in one body, start a number of families that end up on Earth….I adore Meerkat Press, if only for its name - meerkats, after all, are inhabitants of parts of Africa most known for how they have sentries who sit straight up to see any danger coming toward them, and Meerkat Press brings their readers to see things they might not otherwise notice, if not for their attention. All that said, I’m a bit mixed about this book; on the negative side, the author trails the story from its origins into about the fourth generation, which to me as a reader gave short shrift, trying to bundle too much into too short a space. On the positive side, the language is beautiful - this is a writer whose turn of phrase in almost every sentence is practically a poem. Really gorgeous. I’d wish to have this story turned into, maybe, two (or even three) books, to give full voice to each generation, which I felt was a bit too rushed; but I’d love to read her future writing anytime, any day. ( )
  thefirstalicat | May 17, 2019 |
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Eugen Baconprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dawn, MicaelaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy's lifetime â from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra. As they confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.

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