All too often the past gets confused with nostalgia. And nostalgia is all to often despised as a cheap indulgent emotion. The restless pursuit of forward is bizarre to me because what is so great about this future we are rushing too?
In the acknowledgment at end of the Duane Swierczynski's REVOLVER he quotes William Faulkner: "The past isn't over. It isn't even past." There is a practical truth to that as REVOLVER follows three interlocking stories involving a family of Cops over 50 years. There is more of an emotional truth to Faulkner's quote as well for someone like me who's central preoccupation is the passage of time. The ripple effect of our lives starts before we are born and continues well after we are dead. REVOLVER is about that effect, and how it makes and destroys us. Near the end of REVOLVER he writes a small, almost throwaway scene. Nothing really happens except that Jimmy, the only character to be featured in all three stories, is referred to as a 61-year-old man. And wooooooosh an entire life lays before you. The boy from 50 years ago, the Detective from 20 years ago, and the old man now. Like the best moments in the books I read it caught me off-guard. It has the contrasting experience of distilling something that is big, a life, into something small, a brief sentence, that somehow returns it to something gigantic, like everything that happens in the long life that most of us get to live.
You might have guessed that I loved REVOLVER. I have always been in the bag for Mr. Swierczynski's writing. He is a thriller writer and much like nostalgia a thriller writer can rely on the cheap thrills to get you your though. With REVOLVER, and his previous novel CANARY, Mr. Swierczynski has gone deeper than most and for my money outclasses them all.
I think I have to separate the books I have read from the books that I have yet to read. I finished REVOLVER the other night, then spent about 5 minutes reading the inside flap of the next book trying to remember if I have read it or not. Plus I like the visual representation of.... 'These are all the books I will read!" Plus it is a weird delay tactic. So I am on to DEEDS OF DARKNESS by Edward Marston.