The book's subject is a fictional truth commission set up to investigate cases stemming from Northern Ireland's sectarian Troubles, along the lines of a similar commission that examined abuses committed during South Africa's apartheid era. It also looks as if the protagonist, Henry Stanfield, will wind up probing more personal truths as well. Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn't it?
I don't think things will turn out that way, though, because an early scene shows Park and his protagonist pushing beyond details, looking for meaning, just as Stanfield presumably will have to do in his role as truth commissioner:
"There are times like this when the sad reality that he is of a different generation impinges sharply on his consciousness, reminding him that he is in fact more than old enough to be the father of most of them. It's not just ... their incessant texting on mobile phones that are also constantly brandished in the air like badges of honor to take some photograph; it's not even their laptops and iPods and their curiously innocent embrace of technology like children who have found Hornby train sets under the Christmas tree. It's in their use of language that he feels it most, the way when they are excited they revert to a minimalist vocabulary that spins on a few self-consciously faux and wearisomely trite examples of adjectival slang ... "If I guess right, the texture of Park's prose matches the subject of his book. What books or stories have you read in which form similarly matches content?
***A discussion at Crime Scene NI captures nicely the flavor and texture of what I've read so far in The Truth Commissioner.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011