July 13, 2016 by kitmoss
REVIEW: THREADBARE by Clare London
JMS Books LLC (January 23, 2011)
When Edward inherits the family textile mill from his deceased parents, he knows where his duty lies. As a young Victorian gentleman, he devotes himself to the family business and doing right by his customers and employees. What concern is it that he surrenders his own artistic ambitions and romantic passions?
But a hideous accident at the mill one day brings him into close contact with Mori, one of his most productive workers, a beautiful yet seemingly delicate and vulnerable young man. Edward takes Mori under his protection, bringing him back to his house. At last, Edward has found a friend and companion. His fascination for Mori grows swiftly into love, and he’s drawn out of his quiet introspection into a world of delight and passion.
Yet Mori has a private task that both baffles and concerns Edward: the completion of a stunningly beautiful, abstract tapestry. Edward doesn’t understand its significance, Mori’s devotion to it, or Mori’s strange behavior when Edward tries to part the man from his mission. Mori loves him in return, he’s sure—but can that ever be enough? As Edward is tangled more deeply and irretrievably into the web of Mori’s love and mystery, what bittersweet price might he have to pay?
NOTE: This story was originally published in the anthology Masquerade.
REVIEW by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
A remarkable story that takes place in the textile mill region in the late nineteenth century and is told in first person by the heir of the mill in question, Edward. He recounts the tale of his discovery of a young man, Mori, who is part of a unique subset of his millinery workers who seem almost symbiotic in their appearance and nature. When one woman is killed in a mill accident, the small group prefers not to replace her, and later in the story, when an illness slowly takes all the rest of these strange workers except Mori himself, the mystery simply grows. Edward’s fascination with Mori grows as he has the young man come to live with him, distracting him from his duties as the mill owner and leading him into a sexual liaison that was not something he ever expected to engage in.
The author tells this story with a great deal of skill, using intelligent and period-specific language and just the right amount of speculation about the nature of the strange people Mori holds together—that is, no real speculation at all. The reader is left to wonder if we have an otherworldly visitation, that these weavers are from another planet or from some extra-human origin. The story might be slightly predictable, but never mind; it is so magically told and leaves one so bereft of an explanation that it will easily stand alone in its unique quality.
As a bit of a textile artist myself in my modest but well-meaning way, I am fascinated by Mori’s tapestry, understanding its significance and mourning the fact that I will never see it.