Title: The Professor of Truth
Author: James Robertson
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Other Press
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Twenty-one years ago, Alan Tealing lost his wife and daughter in a terrorist attack aboard a plane. And for every single day since, he’s missed them. Alan’s obsession has been to find out the truth behind the terrorist attack: who was responsible, and why? Though someone was arrested and convicted of the attack, Alan doesn’t believe that the full story has yet been revealed. His journey to find the truth takes him around the world, but will he ever find the closure he’s looking for?
The Professor of Truth is a well-written and thoughtful meditation on grief and loss, told through the prism of an engaging literary thriller.
A wife and daughter, gone in the blink of an eye. That’s the premise of The Professor of Truth. Alan Tealing has, understandably, never been able to overcome this horrible tragedy. His grief defines him; it seeps into everything he does and thinks. Robertson has managed to provide a beautiful and moving portrait of loss in the guise of a gripping thriller. It’s very well done, as it’s thoughtful and deep while also being entertaining and easy to read.
Alan Tealing is at the center of The Professor of Truth, and it is his personal story just as much as it’s a search for the truth. Tealing has been paralyzed by his past; he lives there, at that horrible moment, just as much as he exists in the present day. This is his journey of finally putting the past behind him; it’s not easy, and Alan believes that finding the truth about the attack will ultimately help him heal. But is that really what he needs? What, if anything, will bring Alan closure? It’s interesting to think about how this well-written, sad character will find peace.
The Professor of Truth moves at the quick pace you’d expect from a thriller, but it’s more contemplative and thoughtful. Robertson does a great job fleshing out the past through flashbacks; it gives Tealing added depth while also helping the reader understand what led Tealing to believe that the man convicted of the crime didn’t commit it. It’s a well-rounded novel that will leave you thinking long after the last pages are turned.