Arsand, Daniel. “Lovers”, Europa Editions, 2012.
Looking at Love
Daniel Arsand looks at love in its many forms in “Lovers”, a short book that resembles the writing of the Romantic period. It is set in 18th century France and opens with Sebastien Faure, a teen, who falls in love with Balthazar de Creon, a nobleman. Sebastien is a healer who saved Balthazar. Arsand gives us a look at male/male love at a time in history when it was illegal and the book is written in gorgeous, lush prose. We are taken into the world of our lovers when they live and love in bliss but, in effect, live in their own closet and separate from the rest of French society.
Because the prose is so gorgeous, it takes a little while to get into the book but once the reader does, he receives a rare treat. Sebastien feels sheer pleasure when he is with Balthazar and away from the poor surroundings in which he was raised. However, when Balthazar was summoned by the king of France, he refuses to go and with this he seals his fate and will have to pay the ultimate price because he did not show his loyalty to the crown. In loving Balthazar, Sebastien gains a sense of freedom and is able to express the way he feels by painting. When the time comes for Balthazar to accept the fate he has brought upon himself, both men realize the mistake that has been made. While we know that death is ultimately final, we can also see that love cannot always bring about life.