Pares – an introduction.
The subtitle of the novel ‘Pares’, informs us about its content. The story of Thomas and Hanna. It is all about how their relation started, blossomed, and resulted in a wedding. But it is also a bit deceptive, because there is a lot more going on. Thomas’ neighbours, the vet Henny and the sculptor Harry, are also getting connected in a peculiar way. And a bunch of other interesting characters populate his world, like his deceased uncle Walter, who endowed him with an inheritance. And the notary, a man of dubious merit. And last but not least: Cotton, the talking bear, a merger of Winnie the Poe, and the angel Gabriel.
The disputes between Thomas and the bear are a story in itself. They are a form of wisdom literature, reminiscent of the dialogues of Plato. And indeed, in his analytic and profound way of thinking, the bear appears to have Socratic features. No subjects are to be avoided, however sensitive and controversial they might be. Cotton operates as a midwife, supporting Thomas when he goes into labour, getting reborn as a free spirit and a self-confident individual.
Under his direction, Thomas evolves from a jaded, sagging, 50-year old bachelor with no future, into a rejuvenated, energetic man of the world, picking up his life together with the woman he loves. Hanna is about half his age, but every inch his soul mate. Scarred by a traumatic youth they both manage to get healed in the end.
‘Pares’ is packed with drama and comedy, with seriousness and irony, with depth and shallowness. In this manner it represents life itself. Its candid and robust style conduces to the forcing of thought, without imposing opinions or convictions. It is a challenging mishmash of fact and fiction. The text is larded with quotes, ranging from Shakespeare to pop songs. This story proves that ancient themes never lose their actuality.
by James B. Victorson