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  • By Aaron J Clarke
    Apr 11, 2014
    This is not reviewed by Aaron J Clarke but by Palmetto Review. 'Before the Fall' by Aaron J. Clarke tells the tale of homosexual love and desire between Carlton and Marty in 1903 in France, and how the relationship and its unraveling impacts Maggie, Carlton’s wife. ...The literary world is filled with novels that tackle the themes of forbidden love and the inflexibility of society and its moral codes. 'Madame Bovary' comes to mind. In such stories the author manages, usually, to drum up some sympathy for the characters. Here, the odiousness of the main characters leads both to their misery and to the misery of the reader. Deceit, cowardice, vindictiveness, selfishness, and pecuniary self-interest are on full display. But the absolute worst aspect is the intrusive narrator that spins endless suppositions about the intentions of the characters. It’s a little reminiscent of the narration in Marquis de Sade’s 'Justine' minus the S&M. The characters behave in such a way that no good... More > can come of it... ...My criticisms, notwithstanding, the author does a good job of presenting a wide range of issues that challenge both the sexual and nonsexual relationships between the lovers, the husband and wife, the friends and mother and daughter. The strongest element of this book is the way the author depicts the passion between the men without resorting to facile and graphic descriptions. You feel the hunger they have for each other in the words and the looks they exchange. Interestingly, one of the best insights into the love relationship is expressed in a French poem Marty reads by “Aaron J. Clarke, a third rate poet.” The author has a sense of humor. That’s a good thing. In 1903 same sex marriage was a pipe dream, essentially. This reality fuels the anxiety in the story. In the end this tale is as much about love as it is about marriage and its role in society. This is a worthwhile topic to explore. What undermines the author’s lofty goals are the endless references to the women as vengeful goddesses, even resorting to invoking Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction. Women are blamed for subjugating, punishing, imprisoning and subjecting men to the banal existence of marriage. Yet it is the men who manipulate the women into the marriage. I was relieved to reach the end of this story. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get something worthwhile out of it. Three stars.< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
November 7, 2013
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.61 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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