Eulogy for a murdered soulmate

On April 17 2006 South Africa woke up to the news of the gruesome murder of fashion designer Richard Bloom and actor Brett Goldin.

On April 17 2006 South Africa woke up to the news of the gruesome murder of fashion designer Richard Bloom and actor Brett Goldin.

They were killed in Cape Town. Pictures of their naked bodies, with their hands tied behind their backs, made headlines.

Bryan Hellman remembers his lover Bloom in Soul Conductor. A clinical psychologist who has worked with convicted criminals, Hellmann takes readers through his process of mourning Bloom's death.

Intimate details of their relationship are revealed. Bloom becomes more than just a poster boy for violent crime in the country. The book reveals a passionate relationship with the author, their aspirations and trials.

Hellmann applies his training to his grieving and also includes references to other books. The book is, however, dominated by his own experience.

Some of his methods are not conventional. He performs rituals, consults mediums and speaks to Bloom daily, which help extend his connection with him in the afterlife.

Bloom is idolised and he dominates, making Hellmann seem feeble. He also seems too determined to let Bloom, the man he once admitted to have "made my everything", seem immortal and unblemished. As a result, Soul Conductor sometimes reads like a long, tedious eulogy.

But one can't help feeling uplifted when Hellman finally accepts the changes that Bloom's death brought.

"I am taller than I was before," he says.

And as a reader, you believe him.

X