The Parable of The Two Sons
by Christopher Bevan
Goanna Press

"Parables are never ever about the story they tell. The story is just the vehicle for a message. They're a metaphor for something you've got to figure out for yourself."

This novel brilliantly fulfills the function of myths, parables, and classic literary fiction: The story entertains, the author espouses important messages, and ultimately the reader is enlightened. The book opens in a courtroom where a deceased man's two sons battle his best friend over his estate. Since Ken Wainwright is not alive to tell his story or advocate for his wishes and intentions, the judge must put together the pieces of a complex puzzle of perceptions from the testimony of the parties. He likens the process to his favorite film, Rashomon, and then makes an analogy with scriptwriters and directors. The script writer's name is "truth," the director's name is "witness," and the performance is called "Trial."

Indeed reading this novel is like watching an engrossing film in one's mind. Ken taught Classical Greek literature and often used the technique of parables to instruct his sons. He and his best friend Brent were not only best buddies but the best men at each of their weddings. Tragically, their wives who gave them each two children went on a road trip and died in an auto accident when the children were young. Their friendship then became indispensable as they helped each other deal with the grief. Ken lived to raise his boys who are caught in sibling rivalry and see them into what he hoped would be successful adulthood. He also relapsed into an old nicotine addiction.

During his last years, dying of emphysema, it was Brent, not his grown sons, who cared for him and lived in his home. If Brent can prove that a homosexual marital relationship existed between them, he can argue his right to Ken's estate. Important issues are addressed, including tolerance and forgiveness, not to mention recognizing "the right thing" and acting accordingly. The characters are very real and memorable, and the story is extremely well directed.

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