Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review - The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny


Number five in the Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series, The Brutal Telling keeps me captivated!

This one's a story of fear and greed, best explained by a couple of quotes:
     "The Hungry Ghost," said Gilbert.
That roused Gamache, who twisted in his garden chair to look at the dignified man next to him.
     "Pardon?"
     "It's a Buddhist belief.  One of the states of man from the Wheel of Life.  The more you eat the hungrier you get.  It's considered the very worst of lives.  Trying to fill a hole that only gets deeper.  Fill it with food or money or power.  With the admiration of others.  Whatever."
     "The Hungry Ghost," said Gamache.  "How horrible."
     "You have no idea." said Gilbert.

 Gilbert glared at him.  His rage back in full force.  But Armand Gamache knew what was behind that rage.  What was behind all rage.
    Fear.

Fear is also behind the lies we tell and this story is full of them.  The interesting part is that it is not just the murderer who cannot tell the truth.  So many others for greed and fear cannot come up with the truth.  And since Chief Inspector Gamache is all about finding the truth and exploring the deep dark places where it too often hides, we get an exciting, interesting, stunning peek to some pretty frightening places that may not be all that unfamiliar.

And what a tale those eyes told Gamache.  In them he saw the infant, the boy, the young man, afraid.  Never certain what he would find in his father.  Would he be loving and kind and warm today?  Or would he sizzle the skin off his son?  With a look, a word.  Leaving the boy naked and ashamed.  Knowing himself to be weak and needy, stupid and selfish.  So that the boy grew an outer hull to withstand assault.  But while those skins saved tender young souls, Gamache knew, they soon stopped protecting and became the problem.  Because while the hard outer shell kept the hurt at bay, it also kept out the light.  And inside the frightened little soul became something else entirely, nurtured only in darkness.

I have been exploring honesty and authenticity a lot lately and The Brutal Telling has been a classic case study that has helped me greatly in my own quest to understand and break out of my own protective, stifling shell of fear.

*****


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