Saturday, October 06, 2007

"We Shall Not Sleep"

 This book was the 5th, and final, book in Anne Perry's series about World War I. It takes place during the final weeks of the war in the autumn of 1918. All three of the Reavley siblings are in Belgium where their main goal is to get the Peacemaker's German collaborator to London so he can testify to that man's identity and treasonous actions. Complicating matters is the rape and murder of an army nurse, for which Matthew is briefly a suspect, as is the German prisoner. They are both exonerated when Lizzie, the woman Joseph as come to love, reluctantly admits that she, too, was raped several weeks earlier when neither of them were there.

Ever since I learned about the events that took place in Anne Perry's youth, I have been fascinated to reconcile that horrible event with the high ethical standards that she so eloquently espouses in all her novels. I can't seem to get my head around these facts that seem to be at such odds. Here is a quote from the book that really struck me:
"You know what you did, and why, and what drove you. And you know she didn't deserve it. Begin by not lying to yourselves. What I say is true, for you, for me, for everyone."
Was this an apology of sorts for the murder of her best friend's mother that she helped bludgeon to death as a 15-year-old?

I rarely specifically paint pages for a book I've read. Instead, I flip through my reading journal until I find a prepainted set of pages that seems to go with the story. This book had mentioned over and over the miserable conditions that WWI soldiers had to endure due to vast amounts of mud and filthy water contaminated by decomposing bodies. The colors of this background seemed to reflect that, and also paired well with the photo. This is the second time I've used a family member to illustrate a book I've read (see "The Lost Mother" - April 2005 archives.)

Since this story featured a young pregnant woman, it was the perfect opportunity to use the picture of my grandmother Josie, especially since she was expecting my father who was born in 1918, which is the year in which the novel is set.

Sometimes, when I get ready to paint pages, I will reach into the drawers where the paints are stored and grab two or three without looking, just to see what the result will be. I expect that's what happened here. Not especially pretty, but then neither is war. The colors used this time were Blue Lagoon, Nutmeg, and Eggshell. I wrote the title in a hand that I learned from Alan Blackman, using Ziller Glossy Black ink with a Mitchell #4 nib. The review was written with a Uniball Vision Micro, while I did the quote with a Nikko G nib and Ziller Midnight Blue ink. The note at the very bottom of the page that tells about the photo was done with a Pigma .01 brown pen.

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