Andrew Klavan is already the author of several crime novels. Turned into Hollywood movies,“True Crime” and “Don’t Say a Word” featured Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas, respectively, and featured Klavan’s celebrated storytelling skills. He was also the screenwriter for a Michael Caine thriller, “A Shock to the System.” His latest novel for adults is the political thriller ‘Empire of Lies.’ Rather like a one-man media empire, he writes op-eds on religion, culture and politics for leading newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, serves as a contributing editor of the City Journal of the Manhattan Institute, and appears on video at PJTV.com. But I digress.
His most recent book is for young adults who, where I sit, are those dewy teenagers who are filled with so much knowledge and experience of the world – even while they remain safely at home – that they are able to give life lessons to their parents and elders – unsolicited. In “The Long Way Home” Klavan, in the second book of a series, gets off to a roaring start from the very page in a work that is indeed a page-turner. Here is the first line “The man with the knife was a stranger. I never saw him before he tried to kill me.” Whoa.
In Klavan’s "The Homelanders" series, hero and protagonist Charlie West he describes as a fan of Winston Churchill – certainly a storied adventurer and raconteur in his own right. Ask the young adult in your home if he knows about Winston Churchill. But, again, I digress. Charlie, said Klavan in an interview at Breitbart.com with John Nolte, says that he is a normal straight-arrow kid who one day finds himself tortured and strapped to a chair, threatened with death by terrorists. As the plot bubbles along, Charlie is pursued by terrorists, wanted for the murder of his best friend, all while he is seeking answers to doubts about his very core beliefs and events that are blacked out from his memory.
Nolte describes Charlie West as a kind of anti-Jason Bourne – the protagonist in the movie series starring Matt Damon as a CIA operative who is trying to recover his memory and identity following his subjection to mind-altering drug torture.In response, Klavan speaks of the role of the anti-hero in his novel is “to assert man’s individuality in the face of a conformist society. But where’s the conformity now? It’s political correctness, it’s easy ungrateful radicalism protected by the might of the US Marines, it’s artists pretending to speak truth to power when what they’re really doing is kowtowing to powerful left wing critics and producers.”
Accordingly, Klavan says, “Charlie stands for the truth as God gives him to understand it, whether that makes him popular or not, whether it endangers his life or not. The ancients had a word for that: they called it manhood.” Charlie, and the real-life Klavan, is not afraid to speak of God and the role that faith plays in the current cultural environment where Hollywood movies trivialize sex, patriotism, and traditional values. These are things that Klavan addresses in his Homelander series, which will be continued in November 2010 with “The Truth of the Matter.”
Klavan told Spero that he is critical of Hollywood and television for what he sees as a bias toward left-wing ideology. Ever the acute cultural critic, he also was also critical of the most recent movie by Quentin Tarantino “Inglourious Basterds.” The film depicts a fictional U.S. Army unit consisting of Jewish soldiers during the later days of the Second World War that conducts raids behind the German lines. The soldiers mete out bloody retribution upon Nazis with clubs, knives, and bullets.
“Quentin Tarantino doesn’t know anything about real life,” said Klavan in the interview. While averring Tarantino’s skill and that of the actors (which included Brad Pitt), Klavan found the film troubling and “morally offensive,” and “an appalling movie.” The author faults Tarantino’s work as having “an understanding of human suffering so shallow that it falls outside the bounds of civil discussion.” The movie was acclaimed by the Screen Actors Guild with its top prize.
As for how to address what he sees as a bias in Hollywood and throughout the general culture, Klavan added that it is through works of art, presumably like his own, and through clear-eyed honest journalism that the truth about the world can be told. Klavan is certainly using his considerable narrative skills as an artist, as he dips into the real world of politics. Frequently dismissed in the establishment press, he has described his life journey from Judaism to Christianity, from liberalism to conservatism as a process of inquiry. The dogmas of the Left he found to be a hollow idol. He will be able to speak about this journey and his witness to modern culture at the upcoming The David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat in California April 23rd-25th. He will join classical scholar Victor Davis Hanson, radio personality Michael Reagan, and others.
In a review of "Inglorious Basterds," Klavan admonishes the Left for perhaps trivializing the Holocaust, as evidenced by Tarantino. He says, “Whether it’s because of money or celebrity, a fierce leftist miscreed or isolation among their own kind, too many of our artists seem to have been sapped of their understanding of suffering and history. They have lost their feel for the passion and pity of life. They think it’s all only a movie.” Having referred to the victims of the Holocaust as "crucifixions," and with such insight, Klavan is an author, artist, and personality very much worthy to follow.
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.