10-25-2007 10:10 PM
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10-26-2007 11:36 AM
My name is Jim Gilson. I just opened the email from Barnes and Noble and have followed the link here and joined. I have not read your book because I have just learned about it from the email, so what I know is from your summary and BN's. The premise is of much interest to me, so I will stop on the way home and get a copy for the weekend. So my question is not about the book, but about premise and to ask my question I have to make a statement.
If Amnesty International is to be believed; if studies by the United Nations are to be believed; if news reports are to be believed; if reports by my friends are to be believed; slavery exists and is tolerated today in many parts of the world. The reports are available and the documentation seems to be real. And yet, it seems to me, that we (I am included) get more outraged by the "peculiar institution" and the events around it from 160 years ago, than about that same situation which exists today.
By analogy, we have built museums and monuments to the Holocaust, specifically so that we will never let it happen again. And yet we do let it happen again. Darfur. Rwanda. Hussein's Iraq.
And to return to the premise of your novel, according to some sources, after the killing those left alive become slaves, or slave laborers.
From the moral prism of today we look at our history and we are outraged by what previous generations took as normal. Through that same moral prism, we seem to view today's events with the same tolerance as our great-great-great grandparents did.
So that's the question. Why do you think that is?
10-26-2007 04:52 PM
You raise an important point, one which I think is at the core of my wanting to write SOUL CATCHER. History, and by extension, the evils of the past, tend to recur again and again. If slavery, as well as its attendent evils--racism, inequality, brutality, violence, etc.--was just a historical artifact, we could study it as we might a fossil. But the evil that permits the subjugation of one race to another is alive and well all over the world. And you're right, when we build museums and erect monuments to past ills and injustices, those reminders are there to keep us on our toes, not to allow us to rejoice that we as a species are now somehow better, or immune to such future evils. SOUL CATCHER, in part, is intended to remind us both of the depths to which we can sink, but also to the nobility to which we can, despite our human failings, aspire to.
I look forward to more such observations from you.
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