I have been a constant reader of Jim Murdoch’s posts in his blog “The Truth About Lies”, and I marvel at his expertise in poetry and writing.
I had that rare opportunity of reading one of his books entitled: “Living With the Truth”, and I have to say that it was a unique read for me.
I want to express my thoughts as a reader. I will not critic the book as I am not an expert book critic; but I am a voracious reader though, so I can say that in this area, I could dare to comment.
This is an informal write up of how I perceive his book: “Living with the Truth.”
I know that, “Thou shall not judge a book by its cover,” but I do that often when buying books. I read the title, and look at the cover and decide whether to buy it or not. I don’t read the summaries at the back cover because I don’t want to know beforehand how the story would evolve.
When I read the first sentence: “Had it been Death that had called that day everything would have been right, ” it gripped my attention immediately.
What I perceive in the first pages of the flash back on Jonathan Payne’s life is that he was a man with natural urges and needs, and the author expressed this vividly. I laughed when I read this sentence: “She dozed off while he was doing it –but he did it anyway.” (referring to Jonathan’s ex-lover).
There were several such sentences in the book that left me chuckling or smiling and it created a lively approach to an otherwise serious and boring presentation. Think about talking about life, truth, faith and love, without the ice breakers!
I’d like to believe that the “serious looking” Jim has indeed a sense of humor and this has come out naturally in the course of his writing.
I; however, faltered after I reached page 7. After a few days, I went on to read up to page 13. This is the page when Mr. Truth intruded into Jonathan’s otherwise humdrum existence. This was the “read until dawn” page for me. I had to know what happened next …and then next…and then next.
I tried imagining Mr. Truth actually appearing at my doorstep and I, asking him all the vital questions that had bugged my mind for years. “Is there really a God?” “Is there life after death? “ Who goes to heaven?” “When will I die? (But I will have to ask this last, lol) “Are there other creatures in the solar system?” Some of these questions had been asked by Jonathan himself.
The author was able to convey credibility to his story by gradually revealing and weaving the small plots into the thought processes of Jonathan; his unbelief and denial at first, and then his final acceptance of the reality of Truth.
I have read countless books and this is the first time I have encountered Truth assuming the nature of a man. It is a totally innovative plot presented in a believable manner. How to effectively allow Truth to assume a human form and yet be the Truth that “it” really is. Jim was able to maintain this balancing act; not too phony as to lose the interest of readers : “He was actually fairly handsome, as best Jonathan could recognize looks in men…” but mysterious at the same time as to portray what “it” really is – an existing collection of verified facts : “ Most gods pretty much tend to look for exclusive devotion…” Truth said, when asked about God.
I enjoyed the conversations that Jonathan had with Mr. Truth and the eventual realization of Jonathan of the truth about himself.
The end of the story has left me in deep thought for several days. I even read it twice to see if I understood it correctly…lol…
I have searched for the mot juste for Jim’s story in the person of Jonathan Payne, but up to this moment , I found none that could accurately do so. The book may have a simple plot. Mr. Truth comes into Jonathan Payne’s life and with the help of Mr. Truth, he discovered inevitably the truth about himself.
It is not as simple as it seems however, because the story deals with the intricate webs of the human mind. It delved deep into Jonathan Payne’s aspirations, fears, regrets about past events, his doubts and intriguing questions about faith and the uncertain future.
It was an adventure in itself for Jonathan as it was for me. This reason is more than enough for me to recommend this book.
The conclusion was “sweet” but unexpectedly – shall I say – unjustified?
I want to expound more but you have to find out for yourself. The book has inspired several questions that I hope I could eventually seek the answers to, in my own personal way.
Each of us has his own individual journey to self discovery, just like Jonathan Payne; hopefully, just like him, we will arrive to the answers to our questions.
All in all, it was a wonderful, totally unique read.
Thanks Jim Murdoch for sharing this book with us.