Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Tyrant-Jacques Chessex

The Tyrant

Jacques Chessex

Bitter Lemon, Apr 10 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781904738947

The Calmet patriarchal Tyrant Paul is dead. None of his five adult children feel grief as their father was an abusive martinet. The youngest of Paul’s offspring, Swiss schoolteacher Jean actually feels nothing until he sees the urn of his dad’s ashes; then he thinks he is at last free.

However though the schoolteacher is nearly forty, he will soon learn he has not been liberated by Paul’s death. His father’s activities still haunt Jean who has never moved passed the love of his life tuning to his greater than life virile father rather than him. So instead of flying free like a released butterfly, he depressingly continues what he has done for years hide from his odious sire at the Gymnasium of Lausanne where his students cherish his teaching subjects like Latin.

The Tyrant is a fascinating psychological study of the child is the adult as even in death Paul still torments his youngest child as he did for almost four decades. Character driven, the well written storyline keeps readers wondering when will Jean hit rock bottom and will he survive the spiral downward into numbing depression. This is not an easy read as the dead tyrannical patriarch still sucks the life out of his son.

Harriet Klausner

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