Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Review: a chapter in The Holy Man by Susan Trott

I'm a member of a book club that is currently reading The Holy Man by Susan Trott.

Each week, one of us delves more deeply into a chapter and presents our thoughts to the group. Here is my summary of a chapter...

This chapter is appropriately named 'heart' because heart is the central theme of this chapter.

We are told how much Joe (the holy man) enjoys the talents of each member of the hermitage, equally.

Helena's passion is cooking wholesome, delicious food. She (quote) 'had established a chain of cheap nutritional restaurants in poor areas that were also cooking schools.' (end of quote) And thus in this way, she shares her passion with those who can truly benefit from her knowledge.

Hail and hearty Kim enjoys moving rocks. He does this to build his upper body strength, but Joe is unclear of any additional plan. I think this eludes to the passion of simply being.

All the monks seem to truly enjoy living in the hermitage because they are often heard whistling, singing and laughing.

The monks are already upset about Joe's decision to spend the winter alone in the hermitage, so he doesn't tell them about his heart troubles, but, instead, tries to deal with this problem by himself by popping heart pills. He worries that he is growing dependent on these pills. 

All the monks are affectionate towards Joe, but Daniel watches these interactions and grows jealous. He thinks Joe shares (quote) 'intimate moments with them and not with him.' (end of quote)

Joe understands how Daniel feels but realizes that if he does anything to try and solve this problem, it would only worsen things. (quote) 'He knew that Daniel was troubled. He seemed to be feeling resentment, as well as jealousy. Joe considered resentment one of the worst of the evils, worse than envy or hate or egotism, although all the feelings were kin. But resentment was insidious; it ate up your vitals. It alienated you from your comrades. You felt wronged, a victim. And you wanted to get even.' (end of quote)

This resentment partly steams from Daniel being forced to redefine himself. His passion is dance and yet, as he ages, his body is failing him. The level of success he has been able to obtain wasn't good enough for him, and he worries that the days he can devout to his craft are numbered. Joe wishes that there was a pill Daniel could take to control his bitterness.

The chapter ends with Helena returning to the kitchen and Daniel and Joe, together, laughing at Kim's accident. This laughter vaporizes (quote) 'the creatures inside them' (end of quote). End of chapter.

My thoughts regarding this chapter...

At one time or another, I think we all have reached the point where Daniel is. I know I've reached it over and over again in my life. My passion has led me from my dreams of being a journalist to a fourteen year career caring for children in day care centres to becoming a small businesswoman to a knitwear designer to a writer. As I traveled down this path, I discovered more aspects of who I was, I uncovered new talents. If I could sit down with Daniel, I would say grieve the loss but don't dwell in it. One dream may die but you're not dead. Celebrate the opportunity to discover a brand new you.

Last week I talked about The Holy Man in my article:  Are book clubs too confining? (link)

Next post: Laureen's Submission
A metafiction short story with multiple points of view--a writer, an acquisitions editor, a publisher. The main character is Laureen, a pre-published author.

Sharing my author journey...
I ended last week with a feeling of accomplishment. I finished writing a novella. I know the protagonist very well. I met her in 2009. She briefly introduced herself in my self-published cozy mystery.

(I have three copies left of this book--so it is out of print)

At that time, she told me, "Pardon me, I'm not finished telling you my story."
She returned last year with a short play. 
I'm unsure if our relationship is over. She may be lurking in the shadows waiting to give me more gifts. Maybe.

Green Man Celebrations on Mayne Island...