First Published: Signet, 1995. 305 pages.
The title is Requiem. It definition: A melody played on funerals. It is Latin, meaning May he rest (in peace).
It is a psychological novel, with a bit science fiction mingled with it.
The themes are religion, ghosts, after-life and spirits. An important theme is also the death of Christ.
The story tells itself in this period of time, in Jerusalem, Israel. The flashbacks go back to events wich happened in Great Britain.
The characters are:
The main person. A middle-aged teacher, who, unable to cope with his wife’s death, travels to Jerusalem to his old friend Sharon to find answers. He’s a round character.
A Jewish of English origin. She’s an old college-friend of Tom, and moved to Jerusalem after her study. She works in a rehabilitationcentre for troubled women. She’s also a round character.
The head of the rehabilitioncentre She’s an elderly, understanding woman. Tobie is a flat character.
Ahmed is an old friend of Sharon, who spent his time in the centre, being the last men ever to be cured there, according to Tobie. He’s a scholar, who knows old-Hebrew but has unfortunately rusted in his belief in the djinn, the demons that put mankind up to do evil. He’s a flat character.
An old man, owner of a Jewish hotel where Tom spends his first days in Jerusalem. He carries a secret with him that will put Tom in a difficult situation. Flat character.
The deceased wife of Tom. Flat character.
Tom, unable to cope with his wife’s death, travels to Jerusalem to visit Sharon to find some answers.
As he arrives in the city, Sharon isn’t at the address she gave him. He ends up in an old hotel, where he meets David Feldberg, an old, sickly man, at the end of his life, who entrusts Tom with a so far unknown Dead Sea scroll, with apparently important contents. Then, finally, he meets Sharon again after fifteen years. She advises to take the scroll to an old friend and ex-patient of her, Ahmed. He shood be able to decipher the scroll. Tom accepts, but is also being plagued by visions, hallucinations and dreams ever since he entered Jerusalem, especially after having the scroll in his possession.
Tom and Sharon become lovers, but Tom still doesn’t open up to Sharon about the reasons why he quit his job, nor does he seem to accept Katie’s death. When Tom tries to rape Sharon, out of control and out of his mind, at the tourist mountain Getshemane, in the evening, Sharon gets fed up with it. She advises him to visit Tobie, who she could only hardly persuade to let a man enter the centre.
Tom’s visits are becoming more frequent, until Tobie reveals for the both of them the truth, wich Tom wasn’t able to handle. Tom freaks out, and runs of to the Jerusalem’ night.
Sharon, Tobie and Ahmed mange to find Tom, who, set up by his own hallucinations, has set fire in the cathedral of Saint Paul. A rebellion is happening because of the peacetalks between Rabin and Arafat. The city sighs, and Tom is drawn in it.
7.)Point Of View
The story is told by an all-knowing storyteller, in a continuos line. The short flashbacks that represent the conversation and thoughts of Katie, are also told by the same storyteller.
In the end, Ahmed dies to help Tom get back to reality. The truth about the scroll is revealed, and it was indeed of great importance. Tom returns to England, but Sharon, who appears to be the smartest, turns his invitation to come with him, down
I loved the book. It was thrilling, humorist, religious and easy to understand. The conversations are vividly, and
how the writer describes surtain characters, is just hilaric.
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