Among the many mysteries of life is a curious one which some people come to sense in themselves: an odd but compelling feeling of relationship to someone from another time, place and maybe another sex. This peculiar feeling, as reported by those who experience it, makes us wonder about the basic nature of any assumed relationship which traverses space and time. Is it real? Can relationships traverse time and space? Or are such intimations simply odd reflections or symbols of convergent personal interests which animate us to act in patterned ways? Or do they verge on being like actual Doppelgängers; repeated embodiments of energy which are transformed into so many patterns through time that inevitably repetitions occur which draw persons together?
The novel Alexandre and Simone, The Two Musketeers makes no attempt to answer these unanswerable questions, but chips away at the fundaments of the idea that shared human patterns and values can and do transverse time and geography to be repeatedly embodied. Every life, no matter how simple, has drama; and sometimes the drama resembles a replay of previous lives, whether this idea is recognized and accepted or not. Those of like interests are drawn to one another across time.
The two main characters of the novel include: Alexandre Dumas, the famous writer and passionate rake who lived in late revolutionary France, and Simone Dahlgren, a passionate young California scholar, dedicated collector and dealer in fine antiquarian books, artist’s books and manuscripts. These two characters share parallel interests, flaws and compelling obsessions which are expressed differently, but which also converge, seem similar, conflict and ultimately cause pain as well as great joy.
Alexandre, a prodigious word-master and extravagant lover of the arts, food and women, stalks through his life like a Titan of verbal expression and flaming erotic passions. Simone, whose passions include art and words in literature, shares many of Alexandre’s peculiar obsessions and, yes, some of the same flaws. Both are extravagant, intelligent but generally non-reflective about themselves, and thus lack personal insight. They are profligate with money, but generous and basically loving, even when stubbornly foolish. But most of all they love words, often reducing and deflecting life-experiences and problems into mere words and aesthetic satisfactions. Words, in one form or another, occupy their days and shape their struggles and relationships.
Alexandre’s compulsive writing is fed by two linked drives: the need to earn money, and his intrinsic obsession to spill words into tales and romantic dramas about acts of derring-do and erotic passion. Simone’s compulsive word-orientation provides escape from personal chaos through aesthetic and intellectual satisfaction, and feeds her depleted finances at the same time. She becomes a fine art and antiquarian book dealer/collector. The sum of these ingredients creates curious emotional joys and quandries as they both fall on the sword of frustrated love, tragedy, failure and even success.
Alexandre rushes through life, writing and loving day and night, and acting in ways which require exile to escape political censure. But he finds that his travels are shadowed by murders, even in that haven for political refugees, Switzerland. He cannot escape his obsessions which entrap him in plots of eruptive social and political change wherever he travels. Indeed, in spite of his fertile imagination in creating and resolving plots, he is only able to ‘discover’ the murderer of his best friends at the point of a pistol aimed at him. Alexandre’s travels, love affairs, his wild imagination and political dedications are reflected in his written dramas and novels which continue to thrill readers with their romantic escapades long after his death. Oddly, most of his problems and their solutions emanated from his passionate dedication to written or spoken words. As such, his legacy