Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Book Club Reflection: 'Knots and Crosses' by Ian Rankin

THE ANGRY YOUNG MEN




It's great to see
brave young men
giving their dreams a chance...


It's great to see
the brave young author
playing games and tricks with us,
he is feeding
our appetite
for mystery and adventure
and the ride has just begun...



Little we know about John Rebus
at the start
except
that he appears
socially isolated,
emotionally fragile
and difficult to engage
living on the edge.
Can we relate?
Another vulnerable human being
among us,
one of us?



The Loneliness of a soldier
with a row of medals
and list of commendation.
Rebus is offered a chance of recognition
he dreams about.
The catch is to gain glory for his army
by winning a game
of deceit and brutality.
In time of stress and deprivation.
Rebus comes close to doing so,
only to demonstrate
his contempt for authority
by stopping just short of the finish line.



He had two brothers,
both loves puzzles and magic tricks,
they are good at them.
Both in their own ways
use them in their lives.



The first brother
he visits
with an embarrassed surprise
as though it was painful
to be reminded that one still
has some family left alive.



The second one,
his old friend from the SAS training days,
his blood brother Gordon Reeve,
he left in the lurch,
just as surely as if they had been in the hands of enemy.
There was nowhere to go but down.



Poor, old mad Gordon Reeve,
leaving clues everywhere,
the revulsion, the loathing and the fascination
with rods of different kind
watching from behind
scheming to see
John Rebus's world
slowly falling apart.



It's great to see brave young men
giving their dreams a chance...
John Rebus and Reeve Gordon.
They both thought they could change the world
once they got away from their parents,
once they entered the army
once they learnt to face the enemy,
they wanted to fight for justice
inspired by that kind of bravery,
they trained and suffered together,
brotherhood in arms.



There was just one more training to do
with a Special Assignments Group,
a special game
with the army as their enemy to fight.
It was a serious game,
a game of life and death
in a land of barbarity and retribution
than they had to remember that it was still a game,
they did not know the rules,
the army just played with them,
just like a cat plays with a mouse....



Their idealism would vanish
once they saw
how hypocritical the whole game was.
It was a fearful way to live,
day by day,
night by night,
wrestling, kicking your way towards oblivion,
panic,
the freftful sucking for air,
and the killer behind you most likely,
so that you faced the fear of something
totally anonymous,
a death without knowledge of who or why.
A fearful way to live.
A fearful way to go.
They huddled together in a comfort,
Gordon Reeve slowly loosing his mind.
Wishing both just to get out.



Human beings are hardwired to fear things,
the soldier's gun aimed at us,
the assailant in the alley,
and if one of those fears get realized
we may never settle down.
The pain will stay.
Depression, anxiety,
anger and isolation.
We work ourselves to exhaustion,
drink to unconsciousness,
and there are nightmares
locked deep in our memory,
we never ever talk about.



John Rebus becomes an unpopular policeman,
who got there only after the years of pain
and unrelenting public scrutiny,
when 'he cuffed an unruly bastard one night in a cell.'
Only the force can do that to a man,
many years of questions, puzzles and crosses to bear.
He had two brothers without any sense of brotherhood.
Brotherhood belonged to past.



But not for Gordon Reeve,
his blood brother deserted him
and he would pay.
Betrayal and revenge,
his years in the army,
never left his mind,
he was in a little prison,
cell of his own construction.
His life stank the way it had always done,
of misuse, of disuse,
of sheer wastage of life.


Strangulation.
It was a fearful way to go,
wrestling, kicking your way towards oblivion,
panic, the fretful sucking for air,
and the killer behind you,
so that you faced the fear of something totally anonymous,
a death without knowledge of who or why.
A fearful way to go.
But now he was the killer.
And his victims were those young girls,
the dreams of a 7,10,14 years old
have been violently stopped.
For these girls, thanks to Reeve,
a dream and journey are just beginning
and finishing at once.
The last girl is going to be the John Rebus' daughter.
John Rebus is ready to hunt his old friend down.


A poor forked animal at the end of chase...
so many victims and one murderer to blame.


The killer of the girls was put on a trial and jailed for life.
Everyone was happy that the justice has been done.
Dostoyevsky described the wretched paranoia
and physical collapse of the killer in Crime and Punisment.
But our killer was emotionally and physically damaged
even before the first killing was done...
Then, too, there is the idea that redemption
-real peace of the heart -
comes only with confession and acceptance of responsibility.
Was the killer the only one responsible for these crimes?


It's great to see
the brave young author
playing games and tricks with us,
he is feeding
our appetite
for mystery and adventure
and the ride has reached the finish line.
The author unflichingly
stuck his finger
in the tragic heart
of our human wound-
our inability to face ourselves.


It's sad to see
brave young men
loosing their dream,
loosing their lives,
loosing their ability
to share the suffering of others,
concentrating on the 'me'.
Looking around,
they stare into a heart of desperation,
into a heart of a hypocritical world we live in.

Moving through the jungle of the European cities

Moving through the jungle of the city
that jungle the tourists never see
that jungle the tourists never see
being too busy snapping away at the ancient golden temples
being too busy snapping away at the ancient golden temples
temples long since gone but still evident as shadows.
temples long since gone but still evident as shadows.
This jungle closed in on the tourists relentlessly but unseen.
This jungle closed in on the tourists relentlessly but unseen.
You know that the city is all appearances, which makes the crime less easy to spot
You know that the city is all appearances, which makes the crime less easy to spot
but not less evident.
but not less evident.
It is a small city too.
It is a small city too.
A natural force. The force full of appearances.
A natural force. The force full of appearances.
The force of dissipation
The force of dissipation
and destruction.
and destruction.
A man-made force.
A man-made force.
The force full of apperances, to make you feel small and insignificant.
The force full of apperances, to make you feel small and insignificant.
That ability not to share the suffering of others
That ability not to share the suffering of others
is all that keeps the mass of humanity rolling on
is all that keeps the mass of humanity rolling on
anonymity of the city makes it possible.
anonymity of the city makes it possible.
You can shun the beggars and their folded arms, no one will notice.
You can shun the beggars and their folded arms, no one will notice.
You know the dangers too. The ground you walk on is always likely to fall away beneath your feet...
You know the dangers too. The ground you walk on is always likely to fall away beneath your feet...
Letting you slip into the docks of a dark and silent morning.
Letting you slip into the docks of a dark and silent morning.
They find you trussed and gagged in some motorway ditch outside the city.
They find you trussed and gagged in some motorway ditch outside the city.
No one will notice.
No one will notice.
Maybe someone ends up behind bars.
Maybe someone ends up behind bars.
Likely than not, it will not be the one, who commited the crime.
Likely than not, it will not be the one, who commited the crime.
Underneath the city there are supposed to be...
Underneath the city there are supposed to be...
whole streets of the old city.
whole streets of the old city.
Hundreds of years old.
Hundreds of years old.
You realize, that you can not trust your knowledge,
You realize, that you can not trust your knowledge,
you can walk right over a reality,
you can walk right over a reality,
without neessarily encrouaching on it.
without neessarily encrouaching on it.
Somewhere above the traffic moves effortlessly across the canal,
Somewhere above the traffic moves effortlessly across the canal,
while another victim of crimes against humanity cries for help behind the thick ancient walls...
while another victim of crimes against humanity cries for help behind the thick ancient walls...
What we need is a modern knight who stand up to powerful giants, will the generals let him go free?
What we need is a modern knight who stand up to powerful giants, will the generals let him go free?

2 comments:

  1. Very serious reflections...look forward to reading more! : )

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