Week Ten – Pages 651 – 728 (endnotes 266-302)
Now that we are very significantly past the half way mark, are you feeling speculation about where the novel is taking us? What our final destination will be? We know Hal ends up non-verbal, trapped inside his own, unreliable body, but where will the AFR’s search for the samzidat lead? What journey is Don on, or Joelle, or even Lenz?
November 11 – Incandenza vs Stice
We get to witness the match that was referenced last week, a game seemingly arranged for the benefit of Moment magazine’s Helen Steeply, and as the match plays out, we get a first-hand account of the odd behaviours of Stice’s ball, seemingly moved by “mysterious curves and downdrafts that seemed to favour The Darkness alone” (p. 637) when Hal’s ball makes “an abrupt tight curve out of bounds” (p. 680) while Hal’s face “registered nothing”
There is also a quick re-set of some characters, recalling their place in time this afternoon of November 11. Don is waking up, and will be shot later that night. Poor Tony is about to leave the confines of his bathroom stall and have a seizure on the subway. Pemulis and Struck are reading up on the potency of DMZ, CT is dealing with the aftermath of Eschaton, Avril is MIA, and Orin is being lured into a trap by (we will soon learn) Luria P____.
I would also connect the later info that an “employee at the Academy of Tennis of Enfield had been recruited and joined the Canadian instructor and student already inside” (p. 726) to mean that Poutrincourt was indeed the agent/ instructor, and likely John Wayne the agent/student. Who would the employee be? Clenette?
I noted that Steeply seemed to take on the verbal patterns of Marathe when talking with Poutrincourt. It was an interesting switcheroo.
Letters from Marlon Bain
Saprogenic Greetings – Saprogenic meaning “causing or produced by putrefaction or decay” – is a part of the same company Bruce Green’s father worked for, which I am guessing also supplies the novelties for the Antitoi Bros. store. In another grotesque ‘coincidence’ it also seems that the very accident that caused Alice Moore to become Lateral also caused the deaths of Marlon’s parents. Marlon, he of the persistent sweating, holds nothing back in his evisceration of Avril’s character, and sheds some key intel on Orin as well. The story of the nubbin-like remains of ol S. Johnson is a sorry tale indeed and reveals depths of issues from both mother and son.
What word (or really, who’s name) do you think Avril post-coitally wrote on the fogged up window of the Volvo?
Nov 11 – The Tunnel Club Explores
As Hal and Orin play, the younger kid are exploring the tunnels, clearing them for the erection of the Lung, and keeping their eye out for feral hamsters. Not much happens,until later Blott comes by to tell Hal about “something disturbing they encountered” (p. 714). We will have to wait to find out what it was.
Nov 14 – The sad and horrible story of Pemulis’ brother Matty + Poor Tony purse snatches
Matty Pemulis sees Poor Tony walk by a window of the Man ‘O War Grille. Then we get his back story. Ugh. nuff said.
Poor Tony, who has been released after three days in the hospital, causes Kate Gompert to have a serious concussion while purse-snatching from her and Ruth in the hopes that he can come to the Antitois Bros with cash instead of asking for charity. We learn that PT has helped the anti-ONAN Quebecers before.
A broader discussion of depression, from both Kate and Hal’s p.o.v. Kate. There is a gap at the bottom of page 692 that is either an accident or intentional. I am guessing intentional, but I don’t know what it means. We learn that Hal “hasn’t had a bona-fide intensity-of-interiour-life-type emotion since he was tiny” – a possible connection to the eating of the mold? Kate’s psychotic depression seems bone-chillingly horrible. There is mention of the man who became depressed from the head injury, and later Kate has a head injury of her own. Maybe it will reverse her condition, like an old-timey movie trope?
In this same section, there is a smilar touch point on what characters areup to that I assume is time-stamped Nov 14 also, incl. Pemulis grabbing something (likely illicit) from the ceiling panel, Avril calling Moment magazine, Schitt and Mario going to get ice cream, and Lyle levitating.
Nov 11 – Hal watches some JOI films / Joelle goes to an NA meetingBlood Nun: One Tough Sister could be a Grindhouse flick by Tarantino. Joelle seems decidedly racist considering Madame Psychosis seems to be incredibly intellectual (and by my leap of logic, therefore less apt to call someone “colored”).
Nov 14 – Lenz is prowling the streets
And he’s about to rob two chinese ladies of their shopping bags. Again, incredibly racist.
Nov 14 – The AFR are still at the Antitois Bros, looking for the samzidat
They find a read-only copy, we learn the cardboard cut out was in fact the FLQs handiwork, the engineer hasn’t fared well, and if Poor Tony is on his way there, it will get ugly. Also, the AFR’s motivations are pure chaos, wanting to “render Canada itself unwilling to face the U.S.A retaliation…[so that] Quebec would not be so much allowed, as required by Ottawa to secede, to face on its own the wrath of a neighbour struck down by its own inability to say ‘Non’ to fatal pleasures” (p. 722).
They are also looking for Joelle, combing the recovery houses of Boston, having learned from the engineer that she is in treatment.