Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Living with the Truth

Jonathan Payne has, over the course of a lifetime, settled comfortably into a lifestyle that demands very little of him. He is owner, and sole employee, of a small bookshop that is filled to bursting with used volumes but which draws a limited number of customers through its front door. He lives alone, has lost both parents, and rarely has any meaningful contact with his only sister Рor with anyone else, for that matter. His nights are his own and he often spends them pouring over the risqu̩ magazines he has stacked in his bedroom.

The man is his own boss in every sense of the word.

That is, until Truth shows up for breakfast one morning as Jonathan is preparing to leave for the bookshop and simply refuses to go away. Not only does Truth take over a spare bedroom (although he never sleeps), he accompanies Jonathan to the bookshop and becomes his constant companion, something a loner like Jonathan is not particularly pleased about.

Luckily for Jonathan, Truth, a handsome fellow with a mildly twisted sense of humor, is the kind of guy whose company grows on a person. So despite his initial reluctance to have Truth around all the time, Jonathan begins to enjoy their conversation and finds himself teasing and joking with Truth when he spots an opportunity to do so. And, in the process, Jonathan begins to learn some painful truths about the missed opportunities sprinkled throughout his past, opportunities lost due to his own bad choices.

Truth, as personified by author Jim Murdoch, is a rather soft-hearted spirit not at all interested in hurting the people in whom he takes an interest. In fact, humans fascinate him so much that he enjoys and looks forward to “working” with them on a one-on-one basis. Yes, he wants his humans to see the truth about themselves and the way they have up-to-now spent their lives, but he reveals those truths in such a nonjudgmental manner that personal regrets are limited.

Living with the Truth is more than the story of one man’s life and what he finally learns about himself and his past choices. It is also a reminder that one short lifetime is all that any of us are allotted and that those of us who refuse to ever take a risk, and are forever taking the safer turn at life’s crossroads, will probably look back in regret about “what could have been.” And that, by then, it will be too late.

Much like Mr. Truth himself, Living with the Truth is one of those books that grows on the reader as its pages are turned. It is a cleverly constructed tale with a moral to offer, hard to beat that combination.

Rated at: 4.0
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