It’s my great pleasure today to welcome Ashley Meggitt to my blog to discuss the themes of his new novel, The Dark Chorus. Ashley also addresses the fascinating subject of themes in general…
Jo’s blog is prompting the question of themes and when I sat down to write this piece it occurred to me that I didn’t consciously develop The Dark Chorus with a theme in mind. Which is odd because themes have a fascination for me. This is because how we analyse and respond to a story is subjective, influenced as it is by our experiences, out attitudes and beliefs, and our cultural environment. Quite often a novel will have an overarching theme – one that is shared between us with some degree of homogeneity – but it will also have sub-themes winding their way through the narrative that we as readers, may or may not see, and those we do see we may not agree on. And in fact, these sub-themes may not have been authorially intended but rather reader created. That is the beauty and art of storytelling – we are tapping into a reader’s imagination but how that imagination runs away with the narrative is out of our hands.
So, to The Dark Chorus. I should start then with what I think is the over-arching theme and that is the age-old battle between good and evil. The story shines a spotlight on a 13-year-old-boy who believes he has the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel in him. His task is to cleanse the evil from the shard, evil that shattered the soul in the first place. By doing this he can restore the angel and save the lost souls that drift through an unseen reality; unseen, that is, by everyone but the Boy. The Boy calls this collection of souls the Dark Chorus. To cleanse the shard, the ancient religion he unknowingly follows, Banuism, demands the corrupt souls of the living for the purpose. The Boy must kill. Of course, this begs the question of whether we consider that evil acts done for the greater good can be justifiable. Hollywood certainly thinks so.
On further thematic analysis of the story readers might generate sub-themes concerning the destructive nature of abuse, the drive to assuage guilt, or good old-fashioned revenge. These are all fine and I would acknowledge their importance, but for me the real hero of the story’s themes is love.
This may not seem obvious, but love drives the characters to do what they do. We know love has many forms – all of them powerful and many destructive. In essence the Boy’s story is about the restoration of his dead mother’s lost soul. He believes his love for her in absentia deprived her of the ability to move on when she died, and his continuing love for her drives him in his attempt to restore her to some semblance of life. He has little concern for himself or the consequences of his actions. When his first attempt at restoration fails, he must recapture his mother’s soul from the body she now inhabits. To do this he kills the surrogate body in a ritual of his own devising:
In the flickering light, I see beauty in my ritual and love in my imagery; I know I have this right.
Other characters are driven by love to different ends. Makka, an older and psychotically violent young man, uses his love for his dead mother as fuel to drive his hatred for his father. A product of rape and emotionally tortured by the suicide of his mother, he is out to kill. Vee, an abused young woman, has no love in her life, which deprives her of any self-worth. She needs love back in her life, but this cannot happen until her abuser is destroyed.
While this all sounds pretty grim, and it is, the friendship that develops between the three of them is the key to them getting what they want in terms of restitution, but also sets them on a path to finding new forms of love – love that isn’t destructive.
About the Book:
Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur
Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation
The Boy can see lost souls.
He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.
To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!
With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.
Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…
Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to the realm of the Dark Chorus?
About the Author:
Ashley Meggitt lives near Cambridge, UK, with his wife Jane. He left school to join a psychedelic rock band when he realised that sex, drugs, and rock and roll was a thing. Subsequently he went back to education and became head of IT for a Cambridge University College. In recent years Ashley has retrained in psychology and is now an associate lecturer in sports psychology. He is studying for his PhD. He also holds an MA in Creative Writing. The Dark Chorus is his debut novel.
Find Ashley on Social Media:
Facebook: Ashley Meggitt Author – @AshleyMeggittBooks
Dark Chorus is available on Amazon: mybook.to/thedarkchorus