Taylor, Robert. “A Few Clews and Hints”, Harrington Park Press, 2007.
Two Men in Love
We are all shaped by what we have experienced and how those experiences affect us. Robert Taylor in his beautiful new book, “A Few Clews and Hints” shows how the past as well as personal experiences help two lovers, Adam and Tony, make their way through life.
Coming out and coming of age novels have flooded book shelves lately and we have reached a point where basically there has not been a lot new to say or a way to say it. Then we have Robert Taylor who manages to do just that. He tells a wonderful growing up and coming out story in a way we have not previously heard.
To use the past, Taylor goes back several generations and gives insight into the families of the lovers and by doing so produces a beautiful and endearing love story about two men. The novel is written in true Southern gothic style as only Southern writers can do. This is a complex story. As we read of the lives of the two men’s families and their experiences through the range of the history of America, we see how it was to be gay during different periods of our history. We go back to the 40’s and the 50’s and feel the pain and confusion. We feel the liberation of Stonewall. We again are imbued with the horror of the AIDS epidemic and we withstand it all. The plot is like a layer cake, with each layer adding more to the story. The emotions are high as we sense happiness and remorse, sadness and elation, and religious pangs. What could have been the most simple story comes across as a beautiful look at two men who are deeply in love with each other. By looking at them we are forced to look at ourselves. We cheer for Tony and Adam when they can finally, in the 21st century, show their love for each other to the world.
Once I started to read, I kept reading and when I finished the book. I turned to the first page and started to read it again (and I probably would still be reading it if the dog did not demand a walk and were there not papers to be graded). It is absolutely amazing to read about two men—each with his own religion and each with his own attitude grow to love each other so completely. Adam and Tony are not the kind of men we usually read about in gay fiction. They are products of America who know and feel the history of their country and they are proof that there have always been gay people here.
Taylor’s prose is eloquent yet smooth and simple to read. There are some truly beautiful passages in the book especially those dealing with the emotional lives of our main characters. Above all, this is a ROMANTIC novel. Tony and Adam’s love for one another is so pure and so beautiful that it is hard not to smile when reading about it. Taylor’s sense of detail is strong; his characterization is very, very real. When I finally put the book aside, I wanted to raise a glass to love. I think that Taylor is one of the few people who can actually put a definition to the word.