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Author Topic: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)  (Read 729132 times)

Online tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4020 on: March 18, 2021, 06:42:40 PM »
The Secret Chord, by Geraldine Brooks.

The book follows the story of the life of King David. It's structured by the events told in the Bible, but this is not a religious book. It's a novel, and it treats the story of David as historical  fiction, in much the same way that Mary Renault treated the myths and legends about Theseus in The King Must Die.

An interesting aspect of the book is that the author chose to render people and place names as they appear in Hebrew scripture rather than as we might know them from an English Bible. David is David, but, for example, Bethlehem is Beit Lehem, Saul is Shaul, Samuel is Shmuel, Bathsheba is Batsheva, Solomon is Schlomo, and so forth.

The story is told by and from the perspective of Natan (Nathan the Prophet in the Bible), the figure who calls out David for taking Batsheva and arranging for the death of her husband.

This is also not a sex book--no sex acts are portrayed--but nevertheless, it portrays the great love of David's life as Shaul's son Yonatan (Jonathan), and the relationship is sexual as well as emotional. This is made completely clear by David's first wife, Mikal, Shaul's daughter and Yonatan's sister. She tells Natan that on their wedding night, David came to her "hot from my brother, reeking of sweat." She also says that he made no pretense about it that it was Yonatan he loved, and that "he asked me to do things in the dark that recalled my brother."

(That reminded me of a small plot point in BBM, where we are told that Ennis "rolled [Alma] over, did quickly what she hated.")

For me this is a compelling read.

The title is a reference to David's famed musicianship.


I do agree, Jeff

I've enjoyed some. of Geraldine Brooks' other novels.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4021 on: March 19, 2021, 11:08:18 AM »
I do agree, Jeff

I've enjoyed some. of Geraldine Brooks' other novels.

Are there any in particular that you would recommend?