Thursday, August 17, 2017

Uvi Poznansky's Debut Novel of The David Chronicles

I hear the jingle of keys. To my ears, it is such a lovely sound... “Come,” I cry out, “crack it, crack open the door! Step into my chamber... If my memory isn’t playing its tricks on me, you must be the first to visit me here for quite a long while…” 
No one answers. “Come in,” I plead, hoping that no one could catch the shaky tone of my voice. My fever is gone. In its place, now come severe bouts of shivering. I try, as best I can, to control myself. I slow down the chattering of my teeth as I call out, “Of one thing I’m sure: Reading what I’ve been working on—which, for lack of a better term I would call a memoir—you would think me a madman.”
Suddenly I suspect there is more than one of them out there. Putting my ear to the iron door I hear them shuffling their feet on the other side, without uttering a single word. 
To make them speak to me I let myself admit, out loud, “You’re right. Perhaps I am.” 
There, through the keyhole—I can somehow sense it—an eye is observing me. There are limits to power. When afflicted by an unexplained illness, even a king can be placed in quarantine. The words freeze on my lips, Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony… My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? 
I am tempted to kick the door, to startle them—but the isolation in this place is such that it forces me to talk, because I need to hear a human voice, and I need someone to listen. So I call out, “Perhaps it’s me who’s confused,” but I refuse to believe it. The door creaks on its hinges, only to reveal two shadows stirring out there, one blurring the other. They let silence reign over me, so in spite of myself I start wringing one hand with the other. I hang my head over these knuckles, over these pale, veined wrists which I hardly recognize as mine, finding myself overcome by a new enemy, one I never expected: the chill of old age. 
In my youth I became famous for being a fine, eloquent speaker, with a particular talent for eulogies—but now it seems that my listeners have left me. Why write another psalm? Who would read it? Who would take it to heart? 
Being abandoned is not something I take lightly. I want to tell the crowds to come back to me, and not only to take a listen—but to adore me, too! Glancing at the shadows, “Come in,” I beseech. “Let me see, let me touch you. Talk to me… And let me tell you my story.” 
Where will I start it? From my childhood, from the first time I came to the court. The moments of my life are vivid in my mind, too vivid to be dismissed as merely the wishful thinking of a locked up old man. 
My fingers still carry the sense, the cold touch of Saul’s crown, when at last I laid my hands on it. And I know, in a way that no one else can begin to imagine, how heavy it is. This was the thing—or so I thought, back then—the very thing that would make me what I wanted: larger than life. Larger than life? I start laughing, at myself most of all, only to be startled by echoes. I listen in alarm to the way they peel, pealing away from the walls. “Listen,” I say, “whoever you are: I am a poet, a bard. 
For me, reality is a hard thing to grasp, at least your kind of reality: one that’s confined, as if by a straightjacket, to the task at hand. Trapped in such a life I would feel... Oh, what’s the right word? Condemned.”
...This time I can see, with great clarity, that power does not come from the crown. At long last I have no urge anymore to keep my grasp on it. Now I know, power comes from within, from something else entirely: my skill with words. I wish I would have recognized it a long time ago, on my first visit to the royal court. Perhaps then I would have become a poet. Not a king...

The author of The David Chronicles was captured by the stories of David, which she read in its original language... Now she has  created a three-book literary masterpiece so that readers can learn of the individual--David.

The Debut begins with a Prologue in which David has reached old age, having lived his life, yet not totally ready to give his reign over to his heir. The books are written as if David was writing his memoir--the story of his life as he wants to have his family and others know him. Most of all we see David as the man--the human being created by God. The human, like all of us, who deeply loved His God, but who also faced the issues that each of us do... David has a number of significant stories in his life. Book 1 covers his major event when he took on Goliath...

If you have not already done so, you may want to refer to my review of the complementary book, Inspired by Art: Fighting Goliath spotlighting various artists who have given the world their vision of this story. While many may have knowledge of the story between Goliath and David, I was intrigued by the book enough to want to read the contemporary tale envisioned by Poznansky. Also check out Fall of a Giant which continues the review of art work related to the amazing David and Goliant saga... 

We begin the story as David leaves his home to audition for King Saul as a musician, a poet, intent on bringing the King comfort...

Although many who listened were entranced by David's singing and poetry, the King was not and asked who had invited David there, only to be reminded that he, himself, had thought some music might help him feel better.

Finally with the King's permission, David stayed at court and we learn much about what was happening in the life of King Saul, as seen by David... Watching that time, but reading it in today's words and language, is intriguing--we don't know exactly how to respond to a story that does not follow what we already know...but rather fills in the setting, the background and the people there at that time. Could life then be just as complicated and full of emotional angst as it is now?

And what we find is a David who is just as confused as we are in trying to look toward the future, what it holds, what path he should take. He sees the grandeur of the King's castle, the riches within, the power he holds over the people and the country. And David feels the first taste of fame... grandeur... and glory... Does he dare to consider any of these things in his future? Could David become a leader of men? Could anybody ever look to him as their leader--perhaps even their King?

And in thinking more and more, he accidentally speaks openly and Saul, thinking to chide him, asks, why don't you kill a giant?

And the rest of the story they say...history...

And yet it is not...

Poznansky, in taking God's constant presence out of the picture, reveals a man finding his own way, feeling the emotions we feel as well. He is not portrayed as a Godly man, rather he is pictured as we are, striving to live our lives, seeking God's guidance, but not necessarily knowing that his choices are, perhaps, part of God's plan (even though his future had been prophesied). The result is a refreshing, complementary look into the lives of those living in early times who were, basically, much like each of us who know God and try to follow His words...

I will add that much was added to the book about which we may not have known...For instance, David bargained with King Saul for his daughter's hand if he succeeded in killing the giant... I did not see any of what was presented as contradictory of what you may have learned from the Bible, but rather a literary fictional story that helps readers to ponder, to consider how common men--a boy from a farm in this case--might some day come to be known as a man favored by God...  Although I personally didn't enjoy seeing the curse words, I am aware that today's world uses them as part of the culture of today... Therefore, I did not see them as detracting from the value of the story, rather that I was offended personally because of my own background. In that light, I must say that Poznansky has presented an outstanding exploration into the historic life of David, who became King...

Highly recommended,


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