I have received a bit of feedback suggesting that what I have written so far in this blog comes across as a bit too serious. Upon honest inspection, I have to agree that it presents me as having a touch of tunnel vision. That would not make me unique in the blogosphere, where many adhere to the philosophical position of, “I think, therefore I rant!”
My problem is that I do not want to be a ranter, and the novel I have written is not a rant, but the nature of some of my blog posts could cause potential readers to regard it as a polemic, and a long one at that. When I started this blog, I wanted it to draw attention to my novel, but without it looking like an advertisement, so I wrote posts about my take on the art of storytelling and the craft of writing, followed by a discussion of the issues contained in my story. However, re-reading my posts in sequence gives the impression that I am focusing on the concerns associated with assisted dying rather than reflecting the way the issue is presented in my novel.
To set the record straight, the first part of ‘The Sin of Choice’ introduces the characters and starts the two stories, the one within the family and the one within the criminal underworld. These two storylines interveave throughout all three parts, and both are inextricably connected with each other. The second part does contain arguments about the dangers of legalised assisted dying, presented by a strident priest who prefers to leave religious doctrine to one side and makes a case that an athiestic lawyer can appreciate. At this stage, the debate is at the loftier level of society and the law, but this changes in the third part, when medical realities take over from ethical posturing. When the lawyer becomes a patient and his worry turns to pain, the emotional strain on the family illustrates the difficulty we all have in seeing someone suffer.
The arc of the story takes the wider implications of personal choices and focuses them down to a single room filled with personal suffering. My own journey, as I have mentioned in previous posts, has led me to look in more detail at those wider implications, but it has not distracted me from the visceral experience of witnessing misery.
I have tried to illustrate both sides of the issue, since my own stance on the subject is nuanced, and it has shifted over time. So if my previous posts have led you to think that the book is a 900-page campaign for one side of the argument, then I apoligise. The opening three chapters contain gangland retribution, a tumultuous family gathering, and a high-class brothel where you learn that there is more than one use for a cup of lemon tea.
‘The Sin of Choice’ is first and foremost a family drama, so from now on I will try to rant less and explain more.