Do you betray your country or your consciousness? This is the central thematic conflict that is so exquisitely executed in Austin Aragon’s groundbreaking novel Travesty.
Aragon, a clear talent and lover of literature, is not afraid of creating allegories that perfectly encapsulate the world’s apparent popular viewpoints on war and violence. It is this bravery and fearlessness that makes every word of Travesty so riveting and true. Sometimes you just have to hear it like it is to understand what is really at play and what stakes are truly involved.
The book finds Peter Verum, a self-described pacifist, facing a major, possible life-changing decision. Is he willing to reverse his views on passivity in the act of war, or does he abide by the summons he receives to participate in the Sapian-Herculean war? Does he accept capital punishment for ignoring the summons? Or does he kill? That’s a tough one.
With obvious allusions to George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984, Travesty, too, depicts a society that is run by one singular entity whose lack of tolerance for any difference in opinion is met with incarceration. But, and quite explicitly, the author clearly states that this highly governed society is also a peaceful one. Unfortunately, Peter being drafted to fight this alien war regarding the invasion of a nearby planet results in a painful, life-altering experience that leaves him forever changed.
But wait – there is SO much more that happens in Travesty. Along with the aforementioned theme of conflict, many more themes are explored, ranging from the global to the personal. Aragon’s ability to weave together all of the many concurrent events into one cohesive plot demonstrates his clear talent as a writer. As made obvious with Travesty, Aragon is more than a clever author. He’s a visual savant and an imaginative renegade…and we all know that’s a rarity in its own right.