It’s finished….

26 08 2006

Finally! I have made it all the way through. I finished it last night after returning from the theatre.

I enjoyed it to some extent, but it wasn’t quite what I had expected I suppose.

It did get me thinking about a couple of issues.

There seemed to be a lot of coincidence in the novel, to the point of being somewhat unbelievable. It was something that perhaps struck me even more as a writer than a reader. I considered my own novel and how things happen and how you get from one place to the next. Shaw focuses a lot on fate and things happening because they should or need to happen, but I felt Jude’s journey to find Daniel in the actual physical sense could have been a bit more complicated.

There was, of course, a great deal about survival and about surviving and copying with physical and emotional trauma, but not in a way that I found overly moving, particularly the testimonial scene itself, but perhaps I am holding those scenes up to too high of an ideal.

What struck me the most about the novel was the issue of revenge and the cycles of violence. I’d been to a Talking Theatre session earlier in the week and the topic was revenge, so it was on my mind, but as Shaw went into the sections in Ireland, particularly those when the characters discussed why they got involved in the Irish cause, a great deal had to do with harm on a very personal level. In the novel, what breed hatred and what actually motivated many of the characters into fighting against the English was violence or degradation directed at those individuals or their families rather than belief in an abstract cause. It was more a case of an innocent and uninvolved civilian being subjected to horrific treatment or witnessing crimes against their loved ones. Shaw made the cycles of hatred and violence were very clear and the novel certainly had me thinking about very real and fearful contemporary connections as I saw time after time the way that violence and injustice and sorrow only begot more violence and injustice and sorrow.

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