Living in the Shadow
Richard Grove / Tai
Author: Richard M. Grove / Tai
Title: Living in the Shadow – A Fictional Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-927725-35-1 = 9781927725351
Trade Paperback: 118 pages – 5.5 X 8.5
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Living in the Shadow, is James Frey’s, Million Little Pieces, meets Vladimir Nabokov’s, Lolita. Writing a novel in the voice of a protagonist whose behaviour is execrable and beyond the pale is a courageous act.
In, Living in the Shadow, Grove successfully fuses elements of literary realism and memoir styles in this fictional autobiography about Mark Beatleman a devastatingly confused, reformed pedophile.
Living in the Shadow is a realistic, confessional novel that shuffles between rationalizations and redemption of a pedophile. Not since Vladimir Nabokov wrote his earth-shattering Lolita in 1955 has anyone attempted the topic of pedophilia on this level. After reading, Living in the Shadow no one will walk away without wondering what lurks in the dark shadows of their own family closet. This book will force you to analyze your perspective on forgiveness, redemption and mercy. You will never trust your child to be alone with a male ever again.
Reviews and Comments:
Is there a difference between sitting in judgment and coming to an understanding? If we are to dare to aspire after an understanding of the compulsions of the pedophile, do we feel the need for compassion, might we give the gift of forgiveness, might we come to say, “There but for the grace of God, go I?” Do we look within ourselves, as we must when we enter the realm of fiction and glimpse the moral turpitude of an act so wrong and a protagonist so repugnant that the reader cringes even to feel a hint of sympathy? The archetypal example of the pedophile in literature – Humbert Humbert – is a sad reminder of the perversion of Eros when the erotic association is between a pathetic middle-age man and a precocious barely pubescent girl. Remember this – if Lolita were alive today she would be an octogenarian.
For her part, Mary Ann Mulhern’s poetic opus on the disgraced Roman Catholic priest Father Charles Sylvester who died in jail an unrepentant convicted pedophile, completes her documentary verse When Angels Weep with a final poem “Steel Door,” which begins “In the courtroom/ Sylvester hands/ the Crown Attorney/ a book on forgiveness/ he says the women/ must understand/ must forgive.” But can we forgive? Is forgiveness a form of complicity?
Writing a novel in the voice of a protagonist whose behaviour is execrable and beyond the pale is a courageous act. Consider this passage with its obvious self-deception, its violation of trust, its supercilious tone, its monstrous implications:
“She always let me wash her vagina. It used to turn her on. Yah, I put my finger in her all the way after a few times. She winced in the beginning but I knew she liked it because she never stopped me. She never even tried to stop me. She just opened her legs. It was like an invitation. I don’t know how many times we had sex. It was maybe once a week for about six years. Sometimes twice a week. Sometimes once a month but it was never just sex, it was making love every time.”
If evil involves the making of the worst from the best, then this spoliation of innocence in the name of forbidden appetites is an evil act. Acting upon pedophiliac urges is unequivocally evil. And yet, when it is humanized, as it is humanized here within the pages of this faux memoir, we might suffer understanding without falling into the honey trap of self-righteous judgment. And maybe that is a good thing.
John B. Lee,
Poet Laureate of Brantford in perpetuity,
Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life
Hi Tai [Richard Grove], Congrats on having the courage to explore this topic, which I believe overlaps with a lot of other human perversions and negative psychological traits that loiter in our society. An ex-girlfriend was repeatedly molested at the age of three by a relative. As a teen she was raped by two different men. There are far more sociopaths and psychopaths in our midst than we knew of a few decades ago. Well done.
I read Lolita around the age of 13. I also read another novelette, maybe a long ‘short story’ around that time, Two Adolescents and a Time of Indifference, which also had elements of pedophiliac behaviour. I believe the media at the time of Lolita’s publication focused on it as a metaphor for America, but likely that was just a way of moderating the sensationalism and making the topic borderline palatable and marketable. Nabokov was a brilliant writer, & I don’t believe he ever ventured into the topic of pedophilia again, but then I never read another of Nabokov’s novels after Lolita.
Author and Blogger
indeed i survived writing this book 🙂
some might not see that it took courage but i felt it needed to be written
to keep society on its toes. the on-line research took a lot out of me.
The concept of Living in the Shadow, as a fictional memoir, was pardon the pun, novel. The book is unique, and tickled my imagination. Well done, well-executed. It’s one thing to have concept, another to execute it with creative integrity as you did.
Published author, street poet,