Saturday, 25 December 2010

Laurent Gounelle and Dieu Voyage Toujours Incognito

In the spirit of Christmas, one of the most sacred Christian holidays, I wil talk about God today. Most specifically, about God, who always travels incognito. I am not a passionate Christian; in fact I rarely go to a church. I do not believe in God in the religious sense; yet I believe in the power of the human mind. I believe that God dwells in us as us (as Elizabeth Gilbert said in her Eat Pray Love). All we have to do is find that inner strength of ours and apply it. Sometimes, though, people need a bit of help. And that is when God appears in the most unexpected ways.And as Laurent Gounelle points out, Dieu Voyage Toujours Incognito.

Laurent Gounelle managed to become one of my most favorite authors with exactly two books. Both focused on the spiritual search of happiness and stability; both featuring the difficult, yet incredible paths one must travel to reach one's dreams. In Dieu Voyage Toujours Incognito (God Travels Always Incognito) Alen Greenmore is a 24-years-old desperate man on the verge of a suicide. Grown up without a stable father figure, trapped in a job he doesn't like, and left by his beloved girlfriend, Greenmore doesn't see any reason to continue living. He decides to commit suicide in the most "fashionable" Parisian way - jumping off the Eiffel Tower. That is when he meets God (or in his case an old man), who offers him a deal. The stranger promises to save Alen's life in exchange of the man's strict subordination. Alen starts the journey of his life, trying to overcome his fears and to transform himself into a confident and stable individual. The tasks given by the stranger seem easy; however they affect the weakest aspects of Alen's character, prompting him to take risks, to realize his own potential, and to bravely follow his dreams. Who is this old man and what is his motive behind helping Greenmore? Gounelle gives the actual answer at the end of the book and the spiritual one in its title.

Gounelle, a writer and a psychologist, continues the amazing trend set by L'Homme Qui Voulait Etre Heureux. While his first literary piece was short and more philosophical, the second one resembles more a novel. Still, the author adresses the metaphysical questions of stability, inner piece, and happiness. In a unique and enthralling way Gounelle presents us with a story of a human quest towards self-understanding. Lately, I am more and more into philosophical books and I am exploring different cultures and nations. So far Gounelle's style is the closest to my character. I just love the simple and understandable way in which the author tracks the changes in his characters. Greenmore transforms from a weak and insecure man into a mature and strong individual. His meeting with "God" helps him discover his potential. It makes him more confident in approaching other people, in defending his opinions, and in following his dreams. After all, that is what all of us attempt to do.

Going back to the subject of God and Christianity, I must admit I believe in God. I believe in that person (whether it is someone else, or I myself) who will be there for me to help me and take me down the right path. So far, there are no suitable candidates so the strength is left to myself. It is good though that I have the help of my books on the way. In fact, I liked Gounelle's novel so much that I decided to follow the strange man's advice. As if I am Alen Greenmore on the top of the Eiffel Tower and I meet my God, who takes me on a journey. The only thing missing is love.

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