Memories of Recurrent Echoes

Review by Alfred Palma




  Ever since his evolution into homo sapiens, Man has searched for truth, the whys and wherefores of his existence on this planet, whence he came, where he shall eventually go, and thousands of other questions to which he is still seeking a reply. The overall illusion lies in pseudo-answers, in conjectures that very often come into conflict with both logic and (at times absolutely pathetic) wishful thinking, which, no matter what, will continue to slam the door in the face of truth.

  But we go on searching for truth; and so does Otto, Teo and other main characters in this very powerful novel by Anton Sammut. They are the symbol of humanity in conflict with itself; personifying the instinctive need to conserve their God-given freedom, to abide by Nature’s laws, often clashing (sometimes tragically) with man-made ones to, more often than not, make life on earth a veritable hell. And Otto, Teo, and the quasi-enigmatic Baldur, are ready to defy these man-made laws, the sign of the times, the arrogance of power, and sheer dogmatism. And, like each and everyone of us, they go along searching for the truth, determined to question it, to know it is the truth. And they wait, eager for answers which instinctively would ultimately lead them to the locked door to which only Death has the key. Whether any answers or a solution to the mystery lie beyond that door is another story.

 In a very brilliant way, Anton Sammut creates a highly moving story which begins in 1890 and ends in 1990 (mostly narrated in Germany). The author stands out staunch and relentless with his tirades, his sometimes very controversial opinions, his defiance to certain ethics, which both derides and decidedly dismisses as not only unethical but very often even unjust. And he goes on asking questions, seeking the truth… And, with an intelligent coup de grace, he leaves the story hanging in mid air, like a beautiful piece of music that remains unresolved. Because he knows that the search has to continue; that truth is as elusive as the wind; and that, in the end, the very wind will carry all the unanswered questions like dead leaves up to that closed door, behind which, hopefully, lies the truth!