Although I’m happy with my previous analysis of this book, I thought it would be interesting to take a close look at chapter one.
This chapter is probably my favourite in terms of symbolism and creativity, and I’ve been wanting to share this for a while now. I almost included this in my previous analysis (here) but there is so much information in chapter one, it needs its own page.
What I like about this chapter is how we can start from the very first paragraph, just following / observing the author’s creativity as he moves from one device to the next. The author is not even trying to hide the fact this is fiction.
“Precipitation? Certainly Not.
FEBRUARY 2008, NINE MONTHS AFTER MADDIE’S DISAPPEARANCE.”
“IT’S CARNIVAL SUNDAY. In the distance the shots of the hare hunters can be heard, resounding above the low-growing vegetation of the Barrocal.”
The news coverage of the Madeleine McCann story could definitely be described as a carnival – especially between May 2007 and February 2008.
It’s interesting how the author conjures the image of the hare hunter. I don’t know about anyone else, but I always imagine the hare bounding away at the last second. Is the author using ‘the hare hunters’ to allude to Gonçalo Amaral? Are the McCanns the ones who got away?
The author claims Amaral can actually hear the gunshots in the distance. Really? So it’s not a literary device created to symbolise Amaral’s pursuit of the McCanns? Even though this is the opening paragraph in a book that details Amaral’s pursuit of the McCanns.
“On waking, I decide to stay at home. Recently, I’ve had no wish to go out, to go walking or to meet people. I yearn instead for peace and silence.”
I’ve mentioned this before here. This is a clear allusion to Portugal’s Saint Goncalo Amarante. It’s also the very first thing this book tells us about the character ‘Goncalo Amaral’.
“That morning, the sun was shining, promise of a lovely day: but in the afternoon, the rain began to fall, ruining the fête and the parades.”
Another sentence that, from Amaral’s perspective, symbolises the direction of the investigation – as we’ll soon discover.
It’s these kinds of literary devices that are often used on page one of a book or during the opening scenes of a movie.
‘THE THING’ 1980
The main protagonist of this film is played by Kurt Russell. When we are first introduced to him, he is playing chess against a computer – an artificial / alien life form.
He loses the game of chess, but instead of accepting defeat, he decides to pour his drink into the computer thus destroying his opponent.
It’s this character’s first scene and it’s the first thing we learn about him.
If you’re familiar with the film, you can see how this introductory scene foreshadows / symbolises this character’s upcoming battle with the alien.
“From the window I admire the Algarve countryside: the pink and snowy-white of the almond trees contrasting with the blue of the sea that is glimpsed in the distance.”
Hasn’t Amaral got an amazing view from his window? It’s like a painting. Most of us are lucky if we can see the colour green, never mind a picturesque landscape.
“Suddenly, the ringing of the telephone – more and more unusual of late – brings me out of my lethargy; I have to face reality.”
This isn’t reality, but carry on…
“From the receiver, a friendly voice, swinging between anger and sadness, asks me:
– How are you? Have you heard our national director’s interview?
I reply no and wonder what the clearly perceptible anxiety of my questioner is due to.
– He says we were precipitous. That placing the couple under investigation was premature….I wonder what’s come over him. He totally validated that decision. What is he intending to do? End the investigation?”
Did someone just rain on Amaral’s parade whilst an actual parade was being rained on outside?
Imagine existing in Amaral’s world. The universe is constantly working to fill his life with relevant symbolism.
Or this is simply the work of a creative author, and none of this actually happened – cough cough.
Amaral then uses two long paragraphs – which I’m going to skip – to summarise the entire Madeleine story. The author even uses the words ‘media spectacle’ to describe it. He then follows this summary with the words:
“Don’t worry, it’s carnival…”
There was a carnival outside, on the day he gets a phone call about an event that he also considers to be a carnival.
“I follow the conversation as if it was nothing, but deep down, I have the feeling that the world is caving in.”
Is it though? Amaral is about to publish a book and become famous. In fact ‘Goncalo Amaral’ is probably more famous now than at the time of writing.
“After hanging up, I go back to contemplating the almond trees in flower, planted in the hard soil of the Algarve. I wonder if a body is resting under that earth…”
Do you really remember wondering that?
“…and if God, in the end, is not a little precipitous in making these trees flower in the winter….”
It’s all so poetically perfect. You’re telling me that Amaral can actually see these almond trees out of his window, and that he considered their precipitous flowering whilst being told he was precipitous in placing the McCanns under investigation?
“And then I tell myself no.”
It’s official, Amaral and God were not precipitous.
“A memory comes to mind of the legend of this princess from a country in the north, married to a Moorish king. She spent her winter days pining for the snow of her country, which she missed. Then, the monarch had the idea of planting almond trees throughout the surrounding region. Thus, when winter arrived, from the castle window, the young woman could contemplate the white mantle of the flowering trees that covered the countryside, and her sadness was dispelled.”
Legends make great stories but the reality is often very different.
So far, the author has created a scene that surrounds the main character with relevant symbolism. It really is a perfect example of fiction writing.
There is so much going on outside of Amaral’s window, and all of these surrounding elements perfectly symbolise Amaral’s narrative.
I remember watching an episode of The Walking Dead called ‘The Bridge’ which centred around different communities working together to build / repair a bridge.
The animosity between these various communities had passed, and now the time had come to start “building bridges” with one another.
The writers symbolise this progressing narrative, by having these once-warring communities come to together to work on an actual bridge.
At no point does any character say:
….because good writers don’t want to insult the intelligence of their audience.
We’ve had the carnival, the shots of the hare hunters in the distance, the parade being rained on, and the precipitous almond trees. All of these elements have been carefully chosen to add depth of meaning to the events / scene.
Previously here I chose what I considered to be the best examples of fiction in this book. I also chose stories that some people may be familiar with – like the dog story.
This is just to show that you can start at the very first paragraph, and it’s just an exercise in creative writing.
These are just more examples from chapter one that I either find interesting or amusing:
“I recall various moments in the investigation, and the memories come pouring out; I think of that little girl who was not yet four years old and who was denied the right to live.”
So far, every ‘memory’ shared by Goncalo Amaral has been a literary device / a creative construct.
“It would seem that there are preparations to smother the case…”
By who exactly? The mainstream press don’t smother it – Amaral and his death theory are always getting a mention! And have you looked on YouTube? There are hundreds of videos, of which 99% seem to support Amaral (or some variation of his death theory) and many of them have ran completely uncensored for over 10 years! Not to mention the chatter on social media platforms, who again are a death theory majority, often fed by regular ‘McCann updates’ from mainstream news… updates which are still happening today, 13 years later !!!
It’s the worst smothering job in history.
“…that the importance of the evidence is being minimised, that it’s losing its force. Thus, the rights of that child are flouted, the rights of many other children. Who wants to get to that point?”
If anything, I’d say this entire news story has done more to raise awareness for missing children charities than any other. Maybe that’s why CEOP worked so closely with the McCanns?
While we’re on the subject, let’s take a quick look at ‘Kate’s message’ on the Find Madeleine website:
“The public awareness of Madeleine’s plight has at the very least, highlighted cases of other missing children and the extent of the problem as a whole”
If I had to defend the creation of the Madeleine story – which I don’t, as I’m just an observer – then arguing the story raised awareness for missing children would be your best shot.
The Madeleine story also provided a vehicle / platform for the then-recently formed CEOP. This could explain why individuals like Jim Gamble (former head of CEOP) are able to openly dismiss the online death theorists – he knows they believe falsehoods.
Whether we like it or not, the McCanns have become synonymous with missing children – certainly in the U.K.
“Who required my departure from the operational coordination of the investigation?”
“Who is it who wishes to bring an end to the arguido status of the McCanns and Murat?”
“Those who support the theory of abduction?”
I don’t think ‘those people’ care if you support the theory of abduction or the theory of child death – as long as you believe the story.
“Those who maintain – I’d go further and say that they are – that in England the suspects would already have been arrested? Or those who perpetuate the lie…”
You (the author of this book) are perpetuating the lie…
“…in straying from the search for the material truth?”
…whilst leading people from the search for material truth.
“The closing of the case certainly serves someone’s interests.”
It served the interests of everyone involved. For a start, the story has generated HUGE amounts of revenue for the media – which still continues today! There’s always a ‘new development’ to keep the bees buzzing. The McCanns and Amaral are famous, they’ve made numerous appearances on mainstream media outlets, they have both written books, and from what I can see, everyone seems to be doing just fine out of this ‘news story’
“After my departure from Portimao on October 2nd 2007, I had decided to forget about this case. Perhaps the best thing to do, considering the forces at play.”
You (the author of this book) and the individual known as Goncalo Amaral, are both part of the play.
“If the authorities of her own country were not worried any more about what had happened to that child and they satisfied themselves with the theory of abduction, why worry myself about it?”
After all, there are plenty other crimes that need solving. You wouldn’t want to turn your whole life upside down for just one case…
“It’s certainly not the unfortunate statement from a director of police (as perhaps inferred by the journalist) that will make the existing evidence be forgotten – I no longer think that was his intention. The only means of erasing the record of everything that was done would be the destruction of the official records.”
The “official records” and Amaral’s book are both online and free to read.
They have been for over a decade.
“And then, our memory remains, that of all those set out on this investigation to discover the truth.”
The truth of your investigation is there was no investigation. Not an authentic one anyway.
“I receive another phone call: it’s my wife Sofia. She is worried about me, and has been since May 3rd of last year, for nine months now.”
Another phone call? This really is a busy day.
“Previously, our marriage already knew highs and lows; after that date, it was worse. I had become an absent father and husband.”
Rules you imposed on yourself.
“At the beginning I distanced myself from my family to protect them from the media pressure, but also because of the pace of work imposed by the investigation”
More self-imposed rules.
“I now I live alone and I am seized by a certain bitterness; I can’t help feeling betrayed by the institution to which I dedicated myself for more than a quarter of a century.”
You allowed the case to destroy your life. The ‘institution’ were probably telling you to go home and sort your life out.
“Nothing that happened to me seems justified to me, Nothing that happened to me seems justified to me, nothing makes sense.”
Did anyone proof-read this book? Or is that intentional irony?
“My family did not deserve this.”
EVERY SINGLE STORY you have told us about your family has been a literary device – and that’s a fact. They are not victims, they are fictional portrayals.
“He maintains that the director’s words have killed the investigation. The death of the investigation, once again! But this is about the death of a child! Yes, I affirm it, a child is dead!”
You can affirm it until the end of time, but seeing as you’re a demonstrable fraud propped up by the mainstream media…
“This certainty is not fed by vague assumptions, no, I base myself on facts, details, clues and evidence recorded in the official records.”
That’s interesting, because I also base my certainty on facts, details, clues and evidence recorded in the official records… and I found the official records to be corrupt, bogus and a creative work of fictional structuralism! The same conclusion applies to you and your book.
“Many questions have been raised. But where are the answers?”
You are the answer.
“OK, but look where we are! You will see, soon the arguidos will be choosing who leads the investigation. Maybe that’s the modern way…”
No, arguidos (official suspects) do not choose who leads a police investigation, unless of course we’re talking about a fictional story.
“ – The modern way….Rather self-interests, you mean! Deplorable!”
I think this is supposed to be a conversation between Gonçalo Amaral and chief inspector Tavares de Almeida – a member of Amaral’s team when he was lead detective.
“- Speaking of deplorable, have you seen any of the Benfica game recently?
– It’s not football any more, it’s I don’t know what. Incidentally, you’ve met Gaivota?”
‘Incidentally’ is great choice of word.
“Gaivota is the surname of a former Benfica player who was living in Portimão at the time of the investigation. A real companion who shared the good and the bad times with us. I remember his kindness, and the patience with which he showed his support for me.”
I can’t find any record of this former Benfica defender, but according to Amaral, he and Gaivota shared a special friendship.
NOTE: ‘Gaivota’ is Portuguese for ‘Seagull’ – I don’t speak Portuguese, but I reckon that’s a strange and/or extremely rare surname.
“- If he was still at Benfica, maybe their defence would be up to something.”
‘If Amaral was still working on this case, then maybe the investigation would be up to something.’
Isn’t that what’s being said here? Inventing a footballer as a way of symbolising Amaral’s importance to the investigation. No? Because once Goncalo ‘Super Cop’ Amaral left the team, the investigation was never the same.
Just mentioning ‘Gaivota’ would have been enough as a literary device, but the author goes one step further (making the fiction obvious) by having Gaivota and Amaral as also being very good friends. An author wouldn’t just include this story for no reason.
Amaral is the ‘Gaivota’ of the Madeleine investigation.
If Amaral is the true author, does he really see himself this way? Not that we needed another reason to question the authorship, but it doesn’t harm to pile them up.
The first time we looked at this book – here – we looked stories about Amaral’s family, and every story he told was a literary device. Here, we are told more about Amaral’s life and his circumstances, and it’s just more of the same!
The fact remains, nothing we are told about ‘Gonçalo Amaral’ appears to be authentic. In fact, what are told is demonstrably inauthentic! The character, his family and his book are all exercises in fictional narrative technique. I wouldn’t be able to show them as such, if they weren’t.
I am looking forward to sharing more examples from this book in the future. There are so many examples of propaganda, narrative technique and downright absurdity; it would be a shame not to share them.
In all honestly, I’ve nothing but praise for the author’s ‘craft’
Thanks for reading.
Peter James Cullen