Today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and ninety-third, is of short story author and novelist Gabriel Boutros. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Gabriel Boutros spent 24 years as a defence attorney in Montreal. He says he saw enough of humanity’s darker side during that time to fill several books. His work with people from all socio-economic levels and ethnic backgrounds also allowed him to develop some deep insights into the human condition, as his practice had him regularly playing the role of priest, psychologist and social worker to his clients and their families.
In his first full-length novel, The Guilty, he used some of these insights to write about a high-powered lawyer who is filled with self-doubt as he fights to save a client he is convinced is guilty of a double-murder. Gabriel is interested in many genres and styles, so he decided to follow this book up with something totally different. His latest novel is Face/Mask, which he describes as “a brainy dystopian drama”. It’s a story that is set 25 years into the future, and is about everyday people living in a decaying world, and how the poisonous environment around them is reflected in their own behaviour. In writing Face/Mask he was more interested in examining the actions of normal people placed in difficult circumstances, than in heroes trying to overthrow tyrannical governments.
The title refers both to the masks people wear to hide their true natures, and the masks they have to wear in order to survive the toxic air. Once again, he has tried to use the knowledge and insights he has gained in dealing with a wide variety of people who find themselves in very trying circumstances to draw a realistic portrait of human behaviour that is none too flattering.
He is already thinking about his next novel, tentatively titled “A Crooked Little Man”, where he’ll be going back to his roots, the Montreal legal scene. The planned protagonist won’t be a high-powered attorney this time, but someone on the opposite end of the scale when it comes to ability and success. This time Gabriel’s interest turns to a character who lives on the margins, and who is often ignored if not shunned outright by his colleagues. There are great story possibilities about losers who try desperately to make their mark in the world, and Gabriel is looking forward to trying his hand in writing one.
And now from the author himself: