Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:11 am

Pg. 81: Whenever a woman left him, and they always left him, Walter threw himself into manic days of aggressive commerce and dark nights of equally aggressive boozing (like at Pancho’s with Spandau). He paid for one with the other, and so a balance was reached. He was killing himself but he didn’t much care. You simply had to find a way to get through the hours and then the days and let the years, if there were to be years, take care of themselves.

Let’s discuss Walter.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby Bix » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:17 pm

I like Walter and think that he is, as Spandau said, a complex man. I like that he has compartmentalized his life so that he can recognize that he is good at business and that maybe this is to compensate because his personal life is so screwed up. I don't like that one of his 'compartments' involves heavy drinking to the point of becoming mean and aggressive, but I can understand it. That bottle does blot out reality for a short while. I'm not sure why the women always leave him. Maybe the drink? But I think Walter and Spandau know each other on a deep emotional level and that each one truly cares about the other. Certainly Walter does have Spandau's best interest at heart when he tries to persuade him to take the cushy job and get the hell out of Dodge for awhile!
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby moviemom » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:18 pm

I've had to think about Walter a bit. Pookie in an earlier chapter said that Walter chose the women that cause him the most damage in his life and his solution was to drink even more. That would be why his relationships with women failed. I didn't think that throwing himself into the business during the day and then drinking all night was much of a balance. One didn't cancel out the other. While he was probably a good man, he was a very self-destructive one. At least he had the heart to send Spandau to Cannes. He could see that Spandau needed to get away from his problems, even if he himself kept dwelling on his own.
The year's no doubt, have changed me, sir. -- Sweeney Todd :sweeneysmile:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:48 pm

Walter and Spandau are like variations on the same theme to me, points on a continuum with Walter perhaps just a tad more out there, a wee bit more disfunctional in terms of his relationships. Neither appears capable of integrating different aspects of their lives: one side hard-driving professional, the other side sloppy, drunk and almost helpless. Walter seems to consider this a "balance." I don't know. It's kind of like throwing yourself first against one wall and then the opposite wall to make your way down the center of a hallway. Not particularly efficient.

As I mentioned in my last comment on #4 Dee, all of this puts me in a meditative frame of mind concerning men and emotion. Men seem to be assigned a small range of possible emotion than women. Women are like pianos in terms of emotional expression and men, perhaps trumpets? Fewer colors in the crayon box perhaps. Do I mean they aren't capable? No. It's just that western society at least has defined pretty exacting specifications about what guys are supposed to do when something falls apart in their lives. I mean, guys don't call up each other to b :censored: about their girlfriends; they don't hug each other and cry, and then ten minutes later end up collapsing on the floor in hysterical laughter about everything wrong and right in life. Well, probably there are guys that do, but I don't think Spandau or Walter do. They get to drink themselves into oblivation, keep a stiff upper lip and lock down their vulnerable side.

And I have to say, when I read Daniel, it's like I am reading good fiction that masquerades as a straightfoward detective story. That sounds terrible. Ok, I've read lots of books where the point is entirely in the action, solve the puzzle, stop the murder etc. When I read Daniel there is a competition going on between action and relationship. The dimensions within the characters are perhaps more interesting than whatever the action might be. And if I am exceeding the limits of discussion here, dropping bowling balls of future questions--clunk--let me know. My mind wanders when I get involved in thinking about a book.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:58 pm

Hey there, Bix! Good to see you back at ONBC! :bigwave:

moviemom, glad you were able to read the book and jump in the discussion. Welcome! :wave:

It almost seems that Walter may be there to make Spandau look better. :lol: Or maybe he serves as a cautionary tale. They seem to be kindred spirits, neither handles relationships well and they enjoy drowning their sorrows together thereby allowing them to skip any introspection. Neither is good at expressing emotions althought they seem to have some sort of male shorthand if you will that works for them.

firlefly, I like your analogy about the person walking down the hall. Heck of a way to retain your balance. Your last comment was more of a gutter ball more than a clunk :bowling: in that we will be discussing Daniel's writing style in a future question.
:biggrin:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:23 pm

Walter seemed pretty realistic to me. He reminded me of someone we used to know years ago, something in the dialog was very familiar, but I have met variations of that fellow over the years. I think he and Spandau did kind of speak in a funny sort of shorthand. They were both dysfunctional, and as is often the case, their relationship works because the two dysfunctional halves match up quite well to make a functional whole. People like Walter sometimes go on like that for a lifetime - which can be, but isn't always, short.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby gemini » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:57 am

Funny, Walter didn’t impress me as much as some of you. To pursue Nebraska’s last line, not only does his lifestyle seem sometimes shorter but they seem to be working at making it so. I know some men drink for entertainment but their type of benders seem more destructive, almost like they are punishing themselves. More of that macho, I can take a licking and keep on ticking stuff. The camaraderie of, if you are intent on drinking yourself under the table I’ll keep you company, may be more of a contradiction than friendship. It’s more like misery loves company.
Moviemom said: I didn't think that throwing himself into the business during the day and then drinking all night was much of a balance. One didn't cancel out the other. I agree, there seems to be more going on here than balance.
Yes, I do think Walter was trying to help Spandau when he arranged for him to take off with a movie star. His remedy for losing a woman is like a remedy for a bender. Have some more of the "hair-of-the-dog- that-bit-you.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby Buster » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:37 am

I can't possibly resist a character who comes out with this:
"Come on," said Walter, "You can watch Frank's face while I puke in his ice machine."

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby moviemom » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:33 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Hey there, Bix! Good to see you back at ONBC! :bigwave:

moviemom, glad you were able to read the book and jump in the discussion. Welcome! :wave:

It almost seems that Walter may be there to make Spandau look better. :lol: Or maybe he serves as a cautionary tale. They seem to be kindred spirits, neither handles relationships well and they enjoy drowning their sorrows together thereby allowing them to skip any introspection. Neither is good at expressing emotions althought they seem to have some sort of male shorthand if you will that works for them.

firlefly, I like your analogy about the person walking down the hall. Heck of a way to retain your balance. Your last comment was more of a gutter ball more than a clunk :bowling: in that we will be discussing Daniel's writing style in a future question.
:biggrin:

Thank you! This book was fun to read. I actually had several laugh out loud moments.

You may be right about Walter's character. I didn't think of him that way.
The year's no doubt, have changed me, sir. -- Sweeney Todd :sweeneysmile:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #5 ~ Walter

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:36 pm

Another good discussion going on here.

You’ve all really thought hard about Walter and have given more credit than I did. He was not my favorite character. The scene at Pancho’s was such a turn-off to me. On the other hand, I softened when I read the quote above. It allowed me to see Walter when he was sober and to understand him a little better, and I sympathized with him and his situation.

Glad to see you are back, Bix!
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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