The weekend went fine. Tiring but fine. My presentation to the Sverdrup Society in Fargo was well received (though I think I ran over my time). It did snow on us for the Viking exhibit in Bloomington, but we set up inside the museum, so it didn’t bother us much.
I’m not a great re-reader. I do re-read books that I especially like, but I usually wait at least a couple years before doing it, to give myself time to forget plot elements.
So I was surprised that a little voice in my head kept nagging me to re-read Andrew Klavan’s Weiss and Bishop trilogy. “It’s still got things to teach you,” it told me.
So I started the three books again, Dynamite Road, Shotgun Alley and Damnation Street.
I’m glad I did.
What Klavan is doing here, I think, is unprecedented. I don’t think there’s ever been a detective epic before—a trilogy of free-standing books that are nevertheless bound together by a single overarching theme.
I can’t summarize the theme—or if I can, I think it would give too much away for those of you who haven’t enjoyed the books yet.
But it has to do with love. Not just love as romance and a plot device, but love as the clue to the meaning of everything in our lives. The whole complicated nexus of love and sex and maleness and femaleness and idealism and disillusionment.
Klavan himself has said, in an NRO interview (this link is to the first in the series; I’m not sure which of the five contains the anecdote) that his journey to faith began with an act of voyeurism. He and his girlfriend (now his wife) lived in an apartment that looked directly into the windows of a neighboring apartment. A couple moved in who were exhibitionists, performing their private acts in full light, with the shades open. As Klavan discussed the situation with his girlfriend, it occurred to him that there’s a difference between the simple, physical act of sex (as when, for instance, one observes other people doing it) and the experience of sex when enjoyed with someone you love. He began to wonder what made the difference, and that led him into a spiritual search that culminated in his conversion. Continue reading Of outlaws and deconstructionists