As I mentioned previously, art plays a very important role in my novel, "Gabriel's Inferno." Without posting spoilers, I'll simply point out that sometimes the mention of a particular painting carries with it either a back story or an element of foreshadowing.
There is a scene, for example, in which I mention Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son. Rembrandt's painting illustrates a story from the Bible - Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, which is told in the Gospel according to St. Luke 15:11-32. There are at least two interpretations of the parable. In the most common reading, the focus is on the Prodigal, himself, and how he wastes his inheritance indulging in sin until he is humbled completely. When he returns to his father, his father welcomes him and forgives him. The second reading focuses on the Prodigal's brother, the son of constancy. While the Prodigal is wasting his inheritance on prostitutes and indulging (no doubt) in all seven deadly sins, the son of constancy is working faithfully on his father's farm. His reaction to the Prodigal's return is less than warm. The story closes with his father's admonishment to join in the rejoicing over the Prodigal's return and not to demand rough treatment for the brother, who no doubt justly deserves it.
The parable is short but powerful and it provides a twin message for all human beings, regardless of religion: the message of forgiveness for those who seek it and the message of mercy for those who need to do the forgiving. Yes, the son of constancy's impulse was toward justice - the just punishment of his brother's moral failings. But it is the impulse of the father - forgiveness and mercy - that is praised in the story. Sometimes it is better to forego justice for mercy, even though such a choice is inherently difficult.
Rembrandt captures a key moment from the parable and although the painting is static, it vibrates with emotion. He doesn't retell the story frame by frame. He chooses a single instant, but in so doing he tells you what he thinks is important in the parable.
A writer can do the same thing by including art in a novel. The artwork doesn't have to retell the story, it only has to highlight a key message or moment. Once again, I'll allow the readers to decide for themselves what those moments are.
The response to the release of my book has been overwhelming. Thank you. And thank you to those who are sharing the story with friends and family. I treasure book recommendations from friends and so I'm honoured that you would recommend my book to others.
All the best and thanks for reading,
Some of the readers over on Goodreads have begun a discussion group for "Gabriel's Inferno." Anyone can join, at any time.