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The book is set in late 1930s in an alternate world and one can draw many parallels between the persecution of Jews in real history and that of Christians in the book. The Prime Minister aka Old Man could very well be Adolf Hitler.
The love stories you encounter in The Betrayals are not made for fairy tales. There is no love at first sight. It doesn’t soothe or swoon or serenade. Their love is “full of desire and hostility, reflections and shadows.”
According to the author, “The Betrayals is in part a book about the joy we find in our playmates, in moments of shared humour or creativity, in seeing and being seen.”
In the world of The Betrayals, Grand jeu is a mixture of literature, music, maths, philosophy and everything else that’s complex yet beautiful in this world.
You are taken through a journey of surprises, vivid descriptions and poetic language.
According to the author, it’s “an elusive game that combines maths, music and ideas in an atmosphere of meditation.”
The book talks about a kind of arcane game called the grand jeu. It’s unlike any magic system we have read about. In fact, one initially wonders if it is magic or really good science.
According to the author, The Betrayals was inspired by Hermann Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game
The Betrayals depicts what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world, where even a normal mistake you make will be attributed to your gender - Being the pioneer in a path where no women has traveled before.
Magister Claire Dryden goes through all the facets of this predicament.
In summary, The Betrayals unravels slowly with one glorious twist after the other. Some are predictable, some not so much. The book itself resembles a tantalising gothic structure.
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