Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:24 pm

Were you surprised by Perec's actions once he finally got to Anna?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:14 pm

Yes! I really didn't see him doing a purification ritual suicide ...... always thought he was going to kill Anna for whatever gratification it would give him. Good job to Daniel for keeping me off the track. :cool:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:42 pm

Just a quick comment, will be back later with more, but am I the only one who wonders and wonders about Special, as it was his confirmation that Perec was going to kill Anna. He read all of Perec's computer stuff, so I guess leading the rest to believe Perec had to be killed was because....well, revenge for the stabbing? (Am I off topic? Afraid my mind goes sideways easier than forward :biggrin: )
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:51 pm

I was surprised, too. Who would think he had a sort of altruistic motive??? :angel: If only they had known, it could have saved a lot of grief!! :-O
Interesting complication, fireflydances. Hmmmnn..... :perplexed:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby moviemom » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:57 pm

Yes, quite surprised by Perec. He seemed so dangerous since he'd sliced Special and had killed his own mother. I thought that all along, he planned to kill Anna. You know, do a Sweeney Todd on her with his shiny razor. ;-) I almost felt sorry for him to have his plan thwarted in the end.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:07 pm

I was totally surprised as well!

firefly, you aren't off topic but I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Are you asking if Special deliberately misled Spandau, et. al? If so why?

moviemom, are you saying he did intend to kill Anna all along and his plan thwarted by the scorpion stings? So was it Amalie who put the thought of the ritual suicide in his head?

I'm just full of questions today!
:lol:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:34 pm

DITHOT: firefly, you aren't off topic but I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Are you asking if Special deliberately misled Spandau, et. al? If so why?
Exactly. Special was so adament about that. It wasn't until the final scene with Anna that I began to wonder, and I went back and re-read the first chapter. In hindsight I doubt that Perec would have been able to put into words what he wanted to do with Anna. I think Amalie, without any intention, crystalized it for him, gave him a clear path: samurai death. And given that Special felt the need to ruthlessly eliminate the two guys who'd given him such grief about getting the money back, it makes sense that Perec should also be disposed of. In fact Special thinks this all out at the end:
And there was Perec, the black angel, the psychotic little f*ck who'd caused so much mayhem but somehow ended up changing everyone's life for the better. Now, there's some kind of weird- :censored: moral tale for you.

Still want to talk more about Perec. Too many errands today!!
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby moviemom » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:45 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I was totally surprised as well!

firefly, you aren't off topic but I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Are you asking if Special deliberately misled Spandau, et. al? If so why?

moviemom, are you saying he did intend to kill Anna all along and his plan thwarted by the scorpion stings? So was it Amalie who put the thought of the ritual suicide in his head?

I'm just full of questions today!
:lol:

No problem! :lol: I thought that he intended to kill Anna and that the "interference" of her rescuers changed Perec's plan to kill himself. It's possible that he got the idea of the ritual suicide from Amalie and her talks about Japanese traditions.

As for the interference that's from Anna's rescuers having discovered that Perec is in the room with her.
p. 298
Perec: "They made me cut your ear. I'm sorry. Does it hurt?"
Anna: "A little," she said.
Perec began to cry.
Anna: "It's fine," she said. "Just a little scratch is all."
Perec: "It isn't what I wanted. It isn't at all."

I should be a bit clearer with my answers. :innocent:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:10 pm

moviemom wrote:Yes, quite surprised by Perec. He seemed so dangerous since he'd sliced Special and had killed his own mother. I thought that all along, he planned to kill Anna. You know, do a Sweeney Todd on her with his shiny razor. ;-) I almost felt sorry for him to have his plan thwarted in the end.

I felt sorry for him, too. And as it was happening, as Spandau broke down the door and Perec was holding the knife to her throat, I was thinking, "oh geeze, Spandau, you blew it again. Your gonna get the girl killed now." Then Special came to the rescue.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:20 pm

As for what I expected?......I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. I kept hoping that he really just wanted to talk to her because they were kindred spirits. On the page before he entered her room he said to himself that he loved her and that he understood her; so I was hoping that he might just tell her that. I suspected that he would kill himself because that is what Amalie foreshadowed. I wasn't convinced that he would kill Anna, though--wishful thinking. It was still suspenseful, though, because I didn’t know for sure how it would go and worried if he’d take anybody else down with him. I knew as soon as he asked her not to make him hurt her, that it was not his intention. But still, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next and worried that he would end up killing her because Spandau foiled his plan.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:42 pm

fireflydances wrote:
DITHOT: firefly, you aren't off topic but I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Are you asking if Special deliberately misled Spandau, et. al? If so why?
Exactly. Special was so adament about that. It wasn't until the final scene with Anna that I began to wonder, and I went back and re-read the first chapter. In hindsight I doubt that Perec would have been able to put into words what he wanted to do with Anna. I think Amalie, without any intention, crystalized it for him, gave him a clear path: samurai death. And given that Special felt the need to ruthlessly eliminate the two guys who'd given him such grief about getting the money back, it makes sense that Perec should also be disposed of.


I think that he was hoping Spandau would lead him to Perec so that he could get his money back. Maybe he thought that Perec would not be pursued as vigorously if he was only planning on committing suicide.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:20 pm

Finally! Sorry for the delay in getting this up. (And now I get to read what others wrote since 4pm. I'll post any additional comments, agreements separately. Otherwise this thing will fall apart. Too many quotes!)

Perec and blood. Our very first scene of Perec is of a man demonstrating love through the act of cutting and then sacramentally using his blood.
“He thought about doing that Thing, the one he sometimes had to do after certain girls came into the shop and teased him. Perec knew that it was ugly and it was dirty and he hated himself whenever it happened….. (and) ….It wasn’t the sort of thing you did to someone you loved, and Perec loved her with all his heart. Instead he got to his feet and went over and took the razor from his drawer… (and)… He watched the blood trickle slowly down his wrist and into his cupped palm. Perec moved again among the photos, dipping his other thumb in the blood, kneeling at each picture, carefully leaving a crimson print on each breast and between her legs, at once clothing their shameful nakedness and offering a benediction just like the priests …the ones who had used to touch his forehead and tell him his sins were gone forever….He stepped off the pictures just as it happened, he couldn’t stop it, his body quivered and he cried out. He felt no guilt now because he had not done it himself, she had done this for him, and it was fine. She had given this to him, she had shown she loved him as well. Perec sat down and was filled with a greater love than he could ever have imagined. Even in the days when he loved God, there was nothing like this. Perec knew he must show her his love. He must find her and given her his love. Perec, for the first time in his life, knew joy.”
So from the first the man wants to give the woman he loves his blood. I found it interesting that he made the connection between priestly blessing with holy chrism (oil) and blood because in a way the chrism is sort of a symbolic stand in for blood – Cain and Abel, that first ritual marking. Let’s face it. Blood is a power-filled substance, it’s what keeps us alive. All kinds of traditions involve bloodletting, ritual sacrifice, ritual marking: blood marks the warrior, blood marks the doors of the homes where the first son will be passed over and not slaughtered. And then there’s menses blood which many societies treat as taboo, sometimes because it is viewed as polluted and other times because it signals the power of woman to give life. Perec demonstrates an instinctive recognition of this in the way his marks Anna’s photos.

Bloodletting is also tied up for Perec with ritual cleaning and his father:
“Blood cleans everything. You let the blood come and it washes the dirt inside you away. Did you love your father? “Yes. Very much.” “He purified himself didn’t’ he? That’s what I want to say to you. Yeah, that’s it”…..(and) “You found him, didn’t you? I found mine. All that blood. He loved you so much.”

I wonder a lot about whether Perec’s intention was always to die or whether initially he simply wished to cleanse and mark her with his blood. It’s as if two different equally compelling motivations got tied together. Remember the tea
ceremony and Amalie’s teasing remark about death and Perec’s reply. “That was much better,” she said to him. “I don’t feel so insulted now. I won’t make you kill yourself.” “Why would I kill myself?” Perec responds.

But it is clear to me that Perec did not intend to kill Anna. In this scene Anna is being held in Perec’s grasp:
“You don’t want to die, do you?” (Perec asked) “No,” Anna said. “I don’t want to die.” “You have so much to learn,” (Perec) said. “It’s not your time.”

So Perec came to Anna that day to cleanse them both, to die himself and then present his blood as proof of his love for her. She was never supposed to die.
Last edited by fireflydances on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:53 pm

Wow, you guys are good! Lots of interesting ideas. And you got the wheels turning in my head.

Firefly, you point out some very interesting things about blood, ritual and anointing. Seems like his mom had more of an influence on him than he would like to have admitted. On the other hand, I imagine that it is also related to the blood of his dad.

Although he says that he does not believe in Christ, I wonder if he is equating his blood to the blood of Christ because he is sacrificing himself for her, and thus symbolically saving her from her sins--the sins of Babylon. He died for her sins….and maybe his dad’s and his mom’s and himself. And he wanted to be remembered by her for it.

Note Luke 22:19-20 (New International Version, ©2011) from the Last Supper:

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.


It just occurred to me that he predicted his death as did Amalie (as Christ's death was predicted), and he didn't actually do it by his own hand. It was by the hand of Special.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:20 pm

Liz, that post just sent chills up my spine. I think you're onto something dear.
I wonder if he is equating his blood to the blood of Christ because he is sacrificing himself for her, and thus symbolically saving her from her sins--the sins of Babylon.
We've been looking for Daniel's tie-ins to the biblical Babylon and you may have landed on it.
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

Absolutely. If we look deeper there's probably even more associations we could make. And I like what you are suggesting with regard to the tea ceremony kind of pre-figuring the sacrifice and death. I still think the fact that the scene with Amalie occurs exactly halfway through the book, the center if you will, has to have significance. Anyway, lots here.

I'm also glad to find you're seeing the same stuff as me. This book is such a connumdrum -- you can read it on the surface with no problem and then you can get inside it and find what I am used to finding in more serious fiction and then you can also go through it and beyond into the internet. Or, conversely, I am utterly delusional. :-O (My ex might go with the latter interpretation :lol: ).
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #23 ~ Perec and Anna

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:52 pm

You spurred my epiphany, as it were.

That’s what’s so good about these discussions. One person’s thought can lead to another thought to another thought.

I’m still thinking that my connection to Babylon is weak. But I’m also wondering about other references to Babylon that we missed.
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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