The book wasn't my choice. It was placed on the reading list by my book club, largely because reviewers were unanimous in their praise, extolling the author for taking us into the minds and hearts of these two men, complimenting him on the choice of language and the "humour" as the two brothers argued about who was the lead man. No one seemed to mind that the book presented evil as an acceptable life-style. No one seemed to mind that the author dehumanized the killers' victims. No one seemed to mind that they lacked any ethical compass, not even honour among thieves. Is our culture so desensitized to wickedness that we can treat these killers as worthy fictional material? One reviewer even recommended the book for children over twelve.
I know that evil exists, in fact, it abounds in our world. We must confront it, battle it and not cringe away. But surely we are not required to celebrate evil, to present it from a sympathetic point of view and to wallow in the blood of misdeeds. On the road to Damascus, Paul is adjured become an apostle, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, ..."Acts 26:18
As writers, we should use the power of words to turn men from darkness, not toward it.
I write romances, a genre systematically scorned by the literati. Our books are considered facile, formulaic and escapist. Yet these books celebrate the good things of life. They celebrate love and commitment. They celebrate families. They celebrate honesty and self-sacrifice. They celebrate the triumph of love over despair. They celebrate light over darkness.
Regardless of what the literary classes think of my genre, I'll take romance over evil any time.
My book club will take me to task for not appreciating this wonderful "literature" but I maintain that it is not lovely. Therefore, I will not think on it.