The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord is my golden trifecta of books.
First up, it’s a historical novel which is my absolute undoing – the older the better and it doesn’t get too much older than the tale of David and Goliath, right? (Well, maybe – but then I’d be reviewing The Bible). It is a grandiose tale that sweeps you along like a boat on a river it is so beautifully written and imagined. And the third element of the trifecta, and the most important, it is penned by my girl crush, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks.
Tick, Tick, big fat Tick.
I know lots of you are fans of Geraldine Brooks so this is an easy sell. I am just thrilled I got to read this book before Ms A picked it up because things could have gotten messy around here.
Brooks takes us to 1000BC, the second Iron Age and to the time of King David who we meet as a sturdy young shepherd boy living in the hills alone after being rejected by his father. The chapters of his life are rich with drama, death, betrayal, brutality, love, loyalty, peace and war – his story arcs from obscurity to fame, hero and traitor, glamorous young tyrant to beloved King.
With such big themes, a possible risk was that this could have read a little like a modern soap opera if not saved by the hand of skilled novelist Brooks who took just an idea of David and brought him magnificently to life.
This epic story is told through the voice of courtier and prophet Natan who counsels David on the path to glory. The relationship between David and Natan is nothing short of devotional, therefore complicated to say the least, so Natan offers the perfect set of eyes to observe David’s tumultuous journey. Through him we witness the relationship between David and his many wives who both love and loathe him; we see the intensity between David and his lovers; we watch his children perform utterly barbaric acts and we watch as one son become the rightful heir.
Not that you need a recommendation from me to read Geraldine Brooks EVER – but The Secret Chord is an absolute winner so please, giddy up and go get it. Odds on, you’ll adore it.
But that is just my two cents worth.