Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

by Daniel Depp

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Liz
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Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:04 pm

Below from Pg. 246 is a conversation between Amalie and Vignon in regards to Perec.

“Miss Debord,” asked Vignon, “do you know where Vincent is?”
“No.”
“If you did know, would you tell us?”
“No. I won’t help you hurt him.”
“All we want is to stop him from hurting anyone else. If he comes back or contacts you, you must phone the police.”
“He won’t. I’ll never see him again. He’ll be dead soon. Like my father. There are worse things than death.”
“Such as?”
“When you find Vincent, you should ask him,” she said.


Why do you think that she thought Perec would be dead soon, and why do you think she suggested that Vignon ask Perec what things were worse than death?

Feel free to expand here on the relationship between Amalie and Perec.

You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Bix » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:22 pm

I had to skim back through their few scenes, but I knew I remembered something significant Amalie had said. It is on p 245 where she says, "He needed to be loved, and he needed to love. One couldn't get in, and the other couldn't get out. Do you understand?" And with that I think she showed how very much she knew about Vincent from their short acquaintance. Somehow they were kindred spirits. Also, she knew from personal experience that there are things worse than death, like having a parent beat you to a bloody pulp time after time for no other reason than that you are there. When Vincent told her he hated everyone and then said maybe he didn't hate her very much, I think she understood him completely. I'm not sure how she knew he would die soon, except that she had seen him kill her father and knew what a tortured soul he was. I thought Depp created a deep bond between Amalie and Vincent with very few words.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby fansmom » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks, Bix, for answering the question so thoroughly!

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:18 pm

It was nice to know that Perec could discipline himself enough to keep his ugly feelings down when he was with Amalie. Though he lost it a bit at the tea party, he apologized later. He understood well how much she was hurting, was sensitive to her needs and did the best he was capable of doing to comfort her.
I don't have a strong feeling of why she knew Perec would be dead soon. She may have felt he'd feel shamed by the murder and her reaction to it and react like a samurai, or, as Bix said, she may have just understood what the fate of such a tortured soul would be. And I agree with Bix on the answer to what is worse than death. Amalie could be a survivor, though, and build a good life (if she improves her taste in men :freaked: ).
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:27 pm

Thanks Bix, for pointing to that quote from the page before. You know the saying, "it takes one to know one." Well, I think that really applies here. She must have sensed these things from Perec. And it must have been her life experience that gave her that capability to sense these things in other kindred spirits.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:30 pm

Betty Sue wrote: Amalie could be a survivor, though, and build a good life (if she improves her taste in men :freaked: ).

The romantic that I am, I wished that he would have turned himself around for her and that they had rode off into the sunset never to be found again. :sad:
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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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:51 pm

I see many responses in the time it's taken me to get down my thoughts. I will leave what I wrote, and see later if I need to add anything.

When I think about Amelie I think of this lightness, the smile and this enthusiasm that is so infectious it can even defeat the terrible poison of Perec's thoughts. She is a warm light, a place of succor, a release. How did she know he was close to death? I think people in great pain recognize it immediately in another. It's on the face, in gestures, not just words. And they share this great deep loss around family. Family is important Amelie says at one point. Yeah, bad problems in the family cripple the soul. I see Perec as responding instinctively to her, almost in spite of himself. He can't resist her, not just because he recognizes her hell but because of the sweetness she so easily extends to him.



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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby fansmom » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:12 am

Liz wrote:The romantic that I am, I wished that he would have turned himself around for her and that they had rode off into the sunset never to be found again. :sad:
Would have made for a short book.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:03 am

I have been unsure how to respond to this question. I do believe there are things worse than death. Perec was living with a horrible compulsion/obsession that he was unable to control and he was filled with self-hatred. It would be a horrible way to live!

Is it possible that Daniel didn't include every conversation between the two in his book? Maybe he knew more than he told about what transpired between them. I know that sounds strange, but sometimes in movies crucial parts can be edited out - some of the deleted early scenes in Dances With Wolves comes to mind. I suppose that could be true with a book as well.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby gemini » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:54 pm

I agree that Bix covered how well Amalie understood Perec. They were kindred spirits. She understood that he was incapable of love but had never been loved and didn't understand it. Even though they had very little conversation they were both very honest with each other. He told her he did not like people, family was not important, and he did not need anyone. She made it clear she did not want to talk about what her father did to her, she would rather speak about beautiful things. When she described samurai warriors and that their death was honorable , her last words were “Isnt it wonderful”? That hit me as strange at the time but became more clear later when she refused to help the police find Vincent. This made me think she understood him better than we gave her credit for.
Even when Spandua questioned her later, she said she was not sorry her father was dead only that Vincent had killed him. She said she was more sorry for Vincent than she was for her father.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:46 pm

Very insightful answers all around, really well done! :applause2:

Bix wrote:

but I knew I remembered something significant Amalie had said. It is on p 245 where she says, "He needed to be loved, and he needed to love. One couldn't get in, and the other couldn't get out. Do you understand?"


Bix, that is the quote I was looking for. I think in a few short words Daniel said what we have been saying in many words.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:54 am

nebraska wrote:Is it possible that Daniel didn't include every conversation between the two in his book? Maybe he knew more than he told about what transpired between them. I know that sounds strange, but sometimes in movies crucial parts can be edited out - some of the deleted early scenes in Dances With Wolves comes to mind. I suppose that could be true with a book as well.

Not strange at all, nebraska. I think authors can become very involved with their characters, and there could be things that go on with the characters in their minds that they may not put on paper.
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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Re: Babylon Nights Question #14 ~ things worse than death

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:07 am

gemini wrote:When she described samurai warriors and that their death was honorable , her last words were “Isnt it wonderful”? That hit me as strange at the time but became more clear later when she refused to help the police find Vincent. This made me think she understood him better than we gave her credit for.

Thanks for bringing both of these points out, gemini. I think they are key. Maybe there were many times that she thought of killing herself to avoid the pain of her existence. That's why these samurai warriors appealed to her because they made death seem honorable or better than being alive in her world.

gemini wrote:Even when Spandua questioned her later, she said she was not sorry her father was dead only that Vincent had killed him. She said she was more sorry for Vincent than she was for her father.

And this point is a good one too. It tells me that the tragedy here is that in the freedom that Perec gave her by killing her father she lost a friend or potential mate, someone she deeply cared about.
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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