Authorial note: In deep discussion over the years with friends, and especially this year with my flatmates, I have continually been confronted by my lack of knowledge and appreciation for classic works of fiction. I admit that I have a bias, in some respects justified and in some respects not, toward works of fiction whether novels or movies. However during this process, not only have I committed to reading Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, but I also decided to finally pen down an idea I had for a novel in middle-school/early-high-school. It came from the realization that many of the thinkers I most respected wrote heavily in fiction to get ideas across (e.g. G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Friedrich Nietzsche etc…), but who also, just as importantly, did not forsake aesthetic qualities of fiction in order to make them mere vessels for ideas. This is my brief attempt to present a novel idea I had for a novel. If there is positive feedback, I will get to work.

Synopsis

            In the late 1990s in downtown New York resides a very successful Jewish lawyer named Enoch Berlinski. He not only has an almost spotless record as a lawyer but he is a very highly respected public intellectual. However, Moses, his intern, soon about to be promoted himself, informs him that one of his most famous clients, Phillip Metanike was exposed by a tabloid of all sources to have actually been guilty on the two charges of rape he was indicted with in 1992, and for which Enoch convinced a jury that there was enough reasonable doubt according to the empirical evidence to declare Metanike not guilty. Enoch had well studied political philosophy but never had he been so confronted by the profound ethical problem he had now been confronted with.  He had his suspicions about Metanike’s presumed innocence, but he did what a good defence lawyer does…ask as few questions as possible.

            It’s not that Enoch had not known the moral problems with the legal system and society at large, but it was now that his conscience had personally confronted him with them. After having begun a long process of repentance, including many radical changes in lifestyle, he still found that he could not escape his past participation in the ‘dirty system’ because of how society at large had defined him. The only way for the world to forget about him, Enoch concluded, was if he had died to the world. Enoch confronted with society’s perception of him decides to fake his death, and upon success lives in good conscience of his repentance and begins a project to live according to justice, instead of law.

            After long peace however, he commits what is considered a ‘crime’. Once his true identity is revealed by a former colleague however he is put on trial. His prosecutor is one of his former students from Harvard, none other than Moses. What ensues in the courtroom are long flashy and erratic philosophical dialogues on the nature of justice and the failures of ‘civilization’ between the former lawyer, his former student, and the judge. The discussions are soon publicized through the mainstream and independent media to radical political groups, who take great inspiration from them. However the question left on Enoch’s mind is throughout the course of trial is, “After all is said and done, how am I to be freed from my way of thinking?” as he realizes that all his repentance and intelligence to create this new life proceeded from his mindset as a lawyer, a former life he now despised.

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