Book review - The Killerâ€™s Tears
Originally published in French, The Killer’s Tears, tells the story of the coming to adulthood of Paolo Poloverdo.
The story is set in modern day Chile, though the remoteness and isolation of Paolo’s home, ‘The House at the End of the Earth, The Last One Before the Sea,’ gives it a timeless quality that moves it into the realms of myth and parable.
The primary relationship in Paolo’s life is with Angel Allegria. Readers will find this relationship particularly challenging: Angel is no angel. He has brutally killed and Paolo is a witness to some of this. The Law finally catches up with Angel, but not before he has decided to give Paolo a life by entrusting him to the care of Ricardo Murga, a woodman, whose own family has been murdered.
This book has a strong theme of love and redemption running through it. Angel is redeemed through his love of Paolo, and in many ways, what happens after he becomes aware of this love is irrelevant. Angel’s love lives on in the life of Paolo’s daughter, Angelina.
There are two other pivotal relationships in Bondoux’s story: those of Paolo with Luis Secunda and Ricardo Murga. Luis’ life has a sense of the biblical story of the prodigal son, yet he widens Paolo’s life by introducing him to books. When Paolo and Angel meet Ricardo, he is chopping down his last tree before retiring. There is a strong sense that the last tree is symbolic of Ricardo’s own death, and that in cutting it down his mission in life has somehow been fulfilled.
The Killer’s Tears will appeal to more ‘thinking’ teen readers and could also be a suitable choice of fiction for high school English or Religious Education classes, either in their individual settings or an integrated study situation. Highly recommended.
The Killer’s Tears by Anne-Laure Bondoux (2006) Allen & Unwin
This review by Katie Stanley originally appeared on the Allenand Unwin website allenandunwin.com.au