Though I liked this book, it was depressing. Cloven Hooves is a very melancholy book, moving from one heartbreaking situation to another with no respite.
The story starts with two stories intertwined: first, Evelyn’s wild, rough-and-tumble childhood and her youthful escapades with a faun in the Alaska forest, and second, an older, tamer Evelyn’s marriage, which is on the rocks after she, her husband, and their son move in with the husband’s family. His family is horrible in ways that are devastatingly realistic. I know people like Tom’s folks. Unfortunately.
Evelyn, at first, tries to fit in with the in-laws, but it soon becomes apparent that she never will. Then she begins to see her faun again. Some very bad things happen, and Evelyn faces difficult decisions. I’ll say no more for fear of spoilers, but there is no choice in this novel that does not lead to heartbreak. So, yeah, this is a very sad story. It’s also good, though, and does a great job of integrating mythology and animal nature and human nature.