Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Letter from Bret Rensselaer

"Forget what happened. You are off on a new adventure. Like Kim about to leave his father for the Grand Trunk Road, or Huck Finn starting his journey down the Mississippi or Jim Hawkins being invited to sail to the Spanish Caribbean, you are starting all over again. Put the past behind you, this time it will all be different, provided you tackle it that way."
The narrator of the book promptly describes the literary references as clichés, and fair enough, yet there is something about that. letter that speaks to me.

Bret Rensselaer is a character who appears in a number of Len Deighton novels. The quote above is from Faith, which I am maybe halfway through now and enjoying immensely. I turned back to find it as what Bret means to communicate to the hero, Bernard Samson, seems like it might be much more important than I first thought given later events in the novel.

There is an odd contradiction in it in that Bret has just finished telling Bernard not to leave his wife while all the examples suggest leaving all family ties behind. The spy story this is wrapped in all seems more or less a MacGuffin now. The real issue is what do you do when you are bound by marriage, mutually shared history, your children and your career to a woman who lied to you and betrayed you?

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