First, before proceeding with the review I must say that there are some current political opinions in this story. I don’t normally touch on current politics in my reviews on this blog. Some of you will agree with the opinions in this story and some of you won’t. That’s as much as I will say on that topic.
The story opens with a man, Gabriel, entering confessional and telling the priest he hasn’t confessed in 50 years. He has only three sins to confess, all of which are sins of the flesh. He confesses to sexual sins outside of marriage with three women. All of these revolve around the 1960s hippie/commune culture and women he met there, some of whom he still sees.
I was interested in the redemption aspect, although I am not Catholic and have never gone to confession. The 1960s hippie culture is not something I’m really interested in, so I will focus on the writing of this story, which is nicely done.
This is well written literary fiction, and the author is a very skilled writer. The title of the story is “Love’s Ragged Claws.” The phrase “ragged claws” is taken from and attributed to a poem by T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. “I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” The protagonist and one of the women discuss this line during the story. Using “Love’s Ragged Claws” as the title suggests to me that the protagonist feels unloved, incapable of love, or that he has not experienced real love, so he may just as well scuffle along silently, forsaking love forever. I will not say if this is his path or not, to avoid spoilers. There are other literary references in this work and a strong theme of redemption runs throughout. There is some epistolary content as well.
While I appreciate the literary skill, I just don’t feel the plot was interesting enough for me and I did not connect with the characters. As I mentioned, I’m not into the 60s hippie culture, so many of you may very well feel differently about this story. Since this story is not my cup of tea, I don’t feel it would be fair for me to give it a rating.
I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary.
Love’s Ragged Claws will be released on February 1, 2021.