Review of The Brave by Nicholas Evans

January 4, 2016

the brave coverThis is the kind of book you would never finish reading. This is also a book I’ll remember forever for its high meaning, for the plot and for the style of writing. I am speaking about the novel titled The Brave and written by British novelist Nicholas Evans. The latter is the famous author of The Horse Whisperer, the novel from which was drawn the famous movie with Robert Redford. I read the Italian version of the book translated by Valentina Zaffagnini titled Solo se avrai coraggio.

I don’t know if it was for the cleverness of the author or of the translator, but The Brave is really a book that can pierce your heart and your soul. The main character of the book is Tommy Bedford, a very shy guy that in 1959 is only eight years old. Tommy loves her sister Diane very much more than his parents who, in turn, decided to send him away to a boarding school in London. Tommy is the sort of child who adores western movies and who still wets the bed. It is natural because this boy has endured an awful secret, namely his sister is in reality his mother and his parents are in reality her grandparents.

Diane lied about her teenage pregnancy to avoid a scandal and to chase a career as an actress in Hollywood. When Diane tells Tommy the truth and decides to bring his son to Hollywood together with her boyfriend, namely famous actor of western movies Ray Montane, Tommy’s life becomes as a dream coming true: Tommy is indeed an avid fan of Ray Montane but very soon, the boy realizes that Ray is no the best hero of western movies but a violent and cynic man even capable to beat her wife Diane (Ray and Diane get married meanwhile). After a time jump, the book shows Tommy as an adult. Now, his name is Tom, he has divorced and has a son, Danny, who enlisted to fight in Iraq and who is risking to be accused for a war crime.

Through a long series of flashbacks, Tom will be forced to overcome his sad past, his grief and to approach his son as a real father and not as a stranger. The Brave is a great book about sorrow and feelings, about fear and courage and about secrets and truth. Thanks to several chapters, the author compares the life of a child with the one of an adult, because every person is always a child in his heart, but Tom Bedford is a scared and shocked child who as an adult must forget his troubles to save his son from a death sentence. This book proves that even a possible tragedy can always be a good chance to learn loving ourselves and others.

Tommy fears love because his relatives have loved him very badly. At last, to defeat our personal troubles and emotional shocks, there is nothing but love. Tom managed to love in the adult age and meanwhile, thanks to the skills of the author, has depicted a stunning glimpse about the golden age of Hollywood in the 1960s with Sunset Boulevard crossed by movie stars and by the false illusion of richness and fame. Very touching also the glimpse the author offers about the war in Iraq, with all the military mistakes committed during the several raids and the various killings of innocent civilians. Yes, The Brave is a book absolutely to read, here and now. Go to Amazon to order your copy.

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