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The Secret Chord

Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord

Geraldine Brooks

$69.99

Hardback
:"It is one thing to transmit the divine through a blasting storm of holy noise, another thing entirely to write a history forged from human voices, imperfect memories, self-interested accounts" (The Secret Chord, p. 2)

An Introduction to The Secret Chord, by Geraldine Brooks

In a succession of spellbinding novels, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks has used the known facts of history as a launching point to explore some of humankind's most compelling moments and figures. Now, Brooks takes on what may be her most ambitious subject to date, reaching back three thousand years to ancient Israel to tell the life of King David, a man veiled in myth who is credited with uniting the tribes of Israel and writing many of the Bible's most beloved psalms.

Inspired by tantalizing hints of a lost book written by the prophet Natan-one of David's most trusted and loyal advisers-Brooks elaborates on the most famous episodes of David's life and reimagines what the book might have shared about "a man who dwelt in the searing glance of the divine" (p. 2). As the novel opens, Natan feels his own life reaching its end, but he is content in the knowledge that he has, at last, completed his most urgent task.

Years earlier, David commanded Natan to record his life. The then fifty-year-old king longs to be remembered in more than merely word and deed. David wants posterity to understand his character, so he asks Natan to make him "known as a man" (p. 15), directing him to begin by speaking to three people: Mikhal, his first of many wives; Shammah, his eldest living brother; and Nizevet, his mother. Together, their stories explain how a shepherd boy and a despised youngest son came to be recognized by the prophet Shmuel as "the anointed of the Name" (p. 49).

Natan's quest to record the past stirs up a host of stifled resentments. Nizevet might have named her youngest son "Beloved," but she relates how David was shunned by his father and brothers and sent to toil in the wilderness until Shmuel singled him out for greatness. Soon after, David defeats the Plishtim warrior Goliath and becomes King Shaul's armor bearer.

Whether due to Shaul's madness or to his love affair with Shaul's son Yonatan, David is destined to lose the king's esteem as quickly as he gains it, and is driven into life as an outlaw. Natan is ten when he first encounters David, who is on the run from Shaul's forces and needs supplies for his band of followers. Natan's father refuses, and David slaughters him. David plans to kill Natan next, but spares him when the boy-apparently speaking as God's vessel-predicts that David will be the next king. It is Natan's first prophecy, but it will not be his last.

Over the years, Natan becomes David's most trusted adviser, bearing witness to his many triumphs and admonishing his excesses of vengeance and lust. A celibate, Natan is allowed to share close ties to David's wives, particularly Avigail and Batsheva, as well as to Batsheva's son Shlomo. As David succumbs to encroaching old age and muddled judgment, Natan begins to use his influence to shape the king's final years and the future of all Israel.

- Publisher

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About "The Secret Chord"

:"It is one thing to transmit the divine through a blasting storm of holy noise, another thing entirely to write a history forged from human voices, imperfect memories, self-interested accounts" (The Secret Chord, p. 2)

An Introduction to The Secret Chord, by Geraldine Brooks

In a succession of spellbinding novels, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks has used the known facts of history as a launching point to explore some of humankind's most compelling moments and figures. Now, Brooks takes on what may be her most ambitious subject to date, reaching back three thousand years to ancient Israel to tell the life of King David, a man veiled in myth who is credited with uniting the tribes of Israel and writing many of the Bible's most beloved psalms.

Inspired by tantalizing hints of a lost book written by the prophet Natan-one of David's most trusted and loyal advisers-Brooks elaborates on the most famous episodes of David's life and reimagines what the book might have shared about "a man who dwelt in the searing glance of the divine" (p. 2). As the novel opens, Natan feels his own life reaching its end, but he is content in the knowledge that he has, at last, completed his most urgent task.

Years earlier, David commanded Natan to record his life. The then fifty-year-old king longs to be remembered in more than merely word and deed. David wants posterity to understand his character, so he asks Natan to make him "known as a man" (p. 15), directing him to begin by speaking to three people: Mikhal, his first of many wives; Shammah, his eldest living brother; and Nizevet, his mother. Together, their stories explain how a shepherd boy and a despised youngest son came to be recognized by the prophet Shmuel as "the anointed of the Name" (p. 49).

Natan's quest to record the past stirs up a host of stifled resentments. Nizevet might have named her youngest son "Beloved," but she relates how David was shunned by his father and brothers and sent to toil in the wilderness until Shmuel singled him out for greatness. Soon after, David defeats the Plishtim warrior Goliath and becomes King Shaul's armor bearer.

Whether due to Shaul's madness or to his love affair with Shaul's son Yonatan, David is destined to lose the king's esteem as quickly as he gains it, and is driven into life as an outlaw. Natan is ten when he first encounters David, who is on the run from Shaul's forces and needs supplies for his band of followers. Natan's father refuses, and David slaughters him. David plans to kill Natan next, but spares him when the boy-apparently speaking as God's vessel-predicts that David will be the next king. It is Natan's first prophecy, but it will not be his last.

Over the years, Natan becomes David's most trusted adviser, bearing witness to his many triumphs and admonishing his excesses of vengeance and lust. A celibate, Natan is allowed to share close ties to David's wives, particularly Avigail and Batsheva, as well as to Batsheva's son Shlomo. As David succumbs to encroaching old age and muddled judgment, Natan begins to use his influence to shape the king's final years and the future of all Israel.

- Publisher

Meet the Author

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is the author of two acclaimed works of nonfiction, "Nine Parts of Desire" & "Foreign Correspondence". A former war correspondent, her writing has appeared in "The Wall Street Journal", "The New York Times", & "The Washington Post". She lives in Waterford, Virginia.

Excerpt

Excerpt from: The Secret Chord

:

 

There was an almond blossom, yesterday. It had opened its pale petals on a twig of the bough that curls and twists up to my windowsill. This morning, the blossom is gone; the paleness upon the twig is snow. It does one no good, in these hills, to set store by the earth&'s steady warming.

My body is as bent as that bough. The cold is an ache in my bones. I am sure that this year&'s reaping will be the last that I see. I hope only for one more season of summer fruit, for the ease of the hot sun on my back, for ripe figs, warm from the tree, spilling their sweet nectar through these splayed fingers. I have come to love this plain house, here among the groves. I have laid my head down in many places&-on greasy sheepskins at the edge of battlefields, under the black expanse of goat hair tents, on the cold stone of caves and on the scented linens of palaces. But this is the only home that has been my own.

They are at work, already, on Har Moriah. From across the wadi, I can hear the thin squeal of the planes scraping upon the logs. Hard work to get these trees here; felled in the forests of the Lebanon, lashed together into rafts, floated south on the sea, dragged up from the coast by oxen. Now the tang of cut

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 444531
  • Product Code 9780670025770
  • ISBN 0670025771
  • EAN 9780670025770
  • Pages 320
  • Department General Books
  • Category Fiction
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Viking Press
  • Publication Date Oct 2015
  • Sales Rank #48338
  • Dimensions 235 x 158 x 25 mm
  • Weight 0.538kg

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