King David, Geraldine Brooks, Dick Leonard Cohen discussed on Public Affairs Events


Geraldine brooks. What does that song? That is the wonderful song by route has dick Leonard Cohen. May his name be remembered for a blessing as we say in Jewish tradition. And. It's it's a case of music connects to my novel the secret code, obviously gave me the idea for the title. Leonard Cohen was drawing on the old mid rash. That King David's music was so beautiful that only he could play this chord that was pleasing to the is the divine, which is such a poetic idea. And and the song became especially meaningful to me because when my son was eight years old he decided that the one instrument he was interested in learning to play was the concert hop, and that seemed like a very strange choice for an eight year old boy that's turned out to be a great choice because if you play the harp you can't make a bad sound, even when you playing quite badly. It still sounds. You don't get the reaction that you get when you screeching on a violin making us black with a wind instrument. The halfway sounds good. So the kids to play it get a lot of positive feedback. Anyway, he he he became quite good at it. And when it was time to his Asia. Because tops. Much in the Hebrew bible. He decided that he would play something. And he played a beautiful arrangement of that. Leonard Cohen song. So you had not thought about the book at that point. You know, I was a one of my majors in college was fine arts, and I had been incredibly intrigued I was interested in the period between the renaissance and the moderns which involves mannerist and baroque and. And I loved all the diverse depictions of king, David. So you have the very famous Michelangelo. Have a crumby and Fitch model version, the strong young warrior, the idealized male form, and then you have a various feet almost effeminate sculpture of a very reflective young David by Donna Tella, completely different men. You have Caravaggio 's David who looks like a street thug that you wouldn't want a Nate on Adat night and on and on and on and this character is so capitus that out have felt able to project their own vision onto him. So I was interested in that element. But it was it was well nice son was studying for his going regulated temple. And and I was reading, you know, the story of David again at I realized how much is in it. It's really the first political biography. We have from soup to nuts. We need this guy as it. Child and we follow him to his deathbed and extreme old age and India tween everything happens to him. Every amazingly good thing that could happen to you. And then being the love the professional triumphs. The attic triumphs and every nightmare. The worst things you can imagine having your children kill each other. Having a child turn against you a beloved child losing and child living in our own integrity, doing something so evil and then having to recognize that you betrayed your own beliefs. So he's got it all that everything that you could want to explore about the human condition is in that life, who's a narrator. So the narrator of the secret code is the prophet on. And that was suggested to me by two lions ones in the book of chronicles. Where it says the acts of David king first and last atolls in the book of Nathan. Oh, wait on have the book of Nathan. It's a lost book that Nathan is his most famous management in scripture is when he confronts David about his sin confronts him dot having sent the non he called it to certain death at the forefront of the battle era and David wanted to sleep with your eyes wife Shiva and Nathan is the one who gets into confronted sin. And I thought what's the career path that guy? You talking that? They've done the wrong thing. You don't get to say many things to the gang after that. That's what I love about David. Because apparently at that point. He drew Thanh close on. Why do we know that because it's an attack on his there on David's death bed? Arranging this accession to make sure it goes to the right son to Solomon. But Silva son of that show? So it's an incredibly tangled tale because that Shevess relationships dots with David in the worst way imaginable. She's dragged from a home in the middle of the night. It says in the bible he sent men to fetch. That's not polite invitation, that's. Presumably armed men to bring her to a relationship, otherwise, which she would have no power to say. No. And yet out of that she somehow managed to build. A life in which her son is the one who's going to be king? And then he becomes the king. Who redeems everything comes down to us is the by word for wisdom and good, governance and tastes. So. But also you. Well, first of all at the end in the afterwards. Again, you see I believe that David live. Yes. So his, you know, it's a question because. It was a pre literate time for the most part, but they were literate. Societies surrounding the Hebrew tribes. Dave is the one who follows the Hebrew tribes into a nation in the first place. So there wasn't you wouldn't expect a lot of state archives from that time was very chaotic time. But the big civilizations necessary Tameer and Egypt that surrounded you'd think if there was a king of the statue of David we would have heard something about him in other texts or references. All there is one stone inscription that was dug up at Tel Dan mentions, the house of David, and that's all we've got outside the bible, but what we have inside the bible is to me compelling, and it was a British historian his said, David must've existed because no people on earth would make up such a flawed character as a national leader. Geraldine brooks. What's the importance of lamentations which play throughout this book? First of all what is limitation? Lamentation is just a cry from the hot to God to ask for solace to a turn for misdeed. And I think that when you're dealing with history. There's a lot to lament. And certainly in David's life. There was a lot to lament that what what set similar hot. I think is that he was lady who when confronted with his misdeeds accepted them. What do we see that in contemporary leadership? I cannot think of one example where somebody has actually end up and said, Yep. I Don at effect cop. And I'm sorry. I'm gonna what to repair the damage. I've done. I was blaming somebody else. But at the same time in the secret cord, David doesn't always own up. He might do it because it's politically expedient to do whatever is necessary as you, right? Well, yes. But I think in the end he does and he has to pay grievously. You know, he's paid back. I think it's really felt you know, he he has Nassif losses for fall in his later life. And and I think that. He accepts that destiny. And and then he really does do the right thing in making sure that. That Solomon will be the one put on the throne while he's still alive, which is something for a powerful man to do to save power to the sun to the right son to the son who's going to do the right thing. Maybe I missed it. But I don't think in the text at all as the book progresses, you never name the city of David. Jerusalem. Well. Is that on purpose? I have I've used the Hebrew. Okay. So I've used Hebrew all the way through. So you shall I am would be the Hebrew name. And I can't remember if that's in that on not at this point to be honest surly purposeful function Athens, such but. David the city of David was what it was known as at that time. So I've probably just stuck with that. But you shall I am is the Hebrew. Yeah. Let's hear from Phyllis and Carmel, California. Hi, fellas. Thank you book notes. My question is what role does historical novelists playing recording our history. Phyllis. I like to think of myself as the gateway drug to history. Just like we were talking earlier about one of my big influences teenage Rada was Mary Renault books about -ancient grace that sent me to read history of ancient Greece because she intrigued me about it. So what I hope from my books is that if you get intrigued by some aspect that readers will go to the history and learn more about it because I really believe in the importance of understanding our history and how it tragically repeats itself. We were talking earlier about the tragic repetition of the need to demonize, the other whatever that might be at the time like in Spain. Spain was a powerful and wonderful force the cultural progress during the condidential when Muslims Christians and Jews were living side by side. Creating and sharing intellectual advances together. And then, you know, the demonization started and it started with Muslims. Muslims were expelled and that set the patent and then the Jews were expelled. And you could say that Christians hasn't recovered its former greatness to this day from that Arad idea that only one kind of people worthwhile. So, you know, that's that's where I think it's important to study history. And they're a million other examples of how we get tricked into war time after time how we gave up on diplomacy Tueson how they might be other ways, but the war drums, always drown them out. Kirsten's in elk grove, California. Go ahead Kirsten, you're on with Geraldine Brooks. Thank you so much Peter and thanks for having a fiction edition of in-depth this year. I've loved it. Geraldine such a thrill to talk to you. I wanted to ask you I had this idea to write about a significant event in history that I know absolutely very little about. And I was just wondering for you. Is with the right versus bright. What you would like to know kind of or how you get inspired to write about a particular time streets, and have you ever written about that you knew very little about ethnic giving most of most of that very little about at the beginning, saying courage, you dive, and I think right? What you know is great advice that you can use what you know, in ways that direct is what I know from being a foreign correspondent for all those years when I write about ancient warfare. Obviously, I need to research the weaponry. But the effect of those weapons on the union buddy hasn't changed. And you know, unfortunately, I saw those effects on battlefields during the war between Iraq, and Ron and in the Persian Gulf laws that I covered for the Wall Street Journal. So you can use what you know and apply it to areas that, you know, less. And and I think also another important piece of advice is right. What you know that right? What you care about. You know, right. What you care about what you want to know because you care about it. And then you'll have that passion that'll drive. You fall it on the bad days. Did you hear about how to make paper back in the sixteenth fifteenth century, I guess there's a very vivid description of how we have how to make paper I love books. I in a house is is gonna fall down under the weight of the books that we have in. I've always loved them. It's something that came from my parents. They were book lovers. We didn't have a lot of discretionary income, but we would go to the library every Saturday, and we'd all come back with our full of books, and then I got absolutely hooked on an in Latin children's series called the adventure series and the library only had one in the series. And then I saw in the kids pages of the newspaper that somebody was advertising the rest of the series physio. And I mentioned it to my parents. And I knew we didn't have you know, abundant funds. But. They taught me that books as something like food and school uniforms that you find the money for and they bought those books, and and I remember the day they arrived. And I lay the not on the dining room table, and they're beautiful.

Coming up next