Mark Powell’s latest novel, Small Treasons, examines a number of the tragedies and obstacles that particularly face us in these uncertain times. But also, as with the best of literature, Powell is exploring some of the most universal questions of humanity. Perhaps the central question of this book is about forgiveness. Forgiveness of others, and more importantly, forgiveness of ourselves.
At the heart of this question is John Maynard, man whose past blocks him from having genuine relationships with his parents, his children and even his wife. His wife, Tess, has a secret also. She has become obsessed with videos ISIS beheadings. And then there is Reed Sharma, one of Powell’s most complex characters: a young, would-be jihadist searching for something truthful, something more meaningful than those things that satisfy most young Americans, but unable to discern love from hate.
One of the strongest factors that keeps forgiveness at bay is the distance that builds between us and others. Powell wrote an essay for Authors ‘Round The South about Don DeLillo’s book Players and how that book and the idea of distance inspired Small Treasons: http://authorsroundthesouth.com/90-the-southern-bookstore/10693-mark-powell-finds-his-bookstore.
I’ve read all of Mark Powell’s novels, falling in love along the way with all of them. There are lines and images from each one that stick with me, and even more so, there are life-shattering questions and explorations from each book that haunt me. Possibly to Powell’s own detriment, he is able to see the ever-moving mechanics of our modern world, all of the forces working with and against each other. To our great fortune, Powell is able to use that knowledge to write a book like Small Treasons, both beautiful and tragic.
For more about Mark Powell and his work, check out his webpage http://www.markpowellauthor.com/.