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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:44 am 
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suec, your comment on Millay is interesting. It seems there are no throw away references here. Thanks for looking that up. :cool: The more we discuss these two and their interaction the more I'm scratching my head too. The thought about her being his alter ego is an interesting one and I had not picked up on the death reference. Their encounter is definitely not intimate and I think that is something Arturo doesn't understand. He seems to be searching for it but doesn't know how to achieve it. He certainly never had any experience with it growing up (as far as we know).

As far as his reflection afterwards and the earthquake we will be getting there very soon!



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:58 am 
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I guess I did ramble off topic! :blush: That'll teach me to post too late in the evening when I'm half asleep.



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:26 am 
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No worries, suec! As with all these books one thought just leads to another!



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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 -
Wow! What a ride!
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:08 pm 
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suec wrote:
I have been scratching my head over this one – and still am. So, sorry about my incoherent ramblings.

At first it struck me that Vera was another of those plot devices Fante seems to favour – this time most definitely wildly improbable and forced – to extricate Arturo out of the difficulty in which he finds himself. Perhaps it is his fantasy. At any rate, it is “fantastic” and “incomprehensible” to me.

This woman, who lacks confidence as a desirable woman, approaches a man much younger than herself?

Why the attack on his writing? Perhaps it is compensation for her lack of confidence as said desirable woman. Perhaps she knows what she is talking about. I agree with the comment about quoting Millay, which may create that impression for Arturo. Why Millay? is one of about a gazillion questions I have. I looked her up and found she was noted for among other things, her sexual openness and activities. Perhaps she is an aspirational role model, then. Also, interestingly, she “preferred to be called "Vincent" rather than Edna, which she found plain — her grade school principal, offended by her frank attitudes, refused to call her Vincent — instead, he called her by any woman's name that started with a V.”. OK, it’s from Wikipedia, but all the same…

So anyway, our Arturo takes the criticism like the meek little lamb he is. Hmm. And is ultra polite and sensitive besides. No wonder if he is scared.

These two seem to be rather alike. I like the comment about her physical and his emotional scars. They have similar needs. The timing of her arrival is interesting, immediately after he has gone and sat in Camilla’s car waiting for her. She comments on his writing in the same way he does. One minute she’s slating it but then he’s a “genius” and “so talented”. He does that to himself quite often. They both reference writers. They both indulge in uncontrolled actions and then there is the fantasing for the sex. Two of a kind in some ways – his alter ego?

What’s with the odour? “the very peculiar but distinctive odour of decay, sweetish and cloying…” Charming. That smell that impregnates everything. The way he describes it suggests death to me, which would link with the comment about her flesh. That I think is important.

I underlined this: ‘Say, what is this anyway?… Does it matter? You are nobody, and I might have been somebody, and the road to each of us is love’. Also, the comment about her being in an “inferno of her own creation”, because I think in this book, they all are.

So, onto the sex. What is it with Bandini men and sobbing women? Yet again, when it comes to a sexual situation, communication breaks down”But where were all the words?” I suppose that is because the sex is meaningless. It isn’t intimacy at all. I found it very sad that he tells hmself to find his passion “the way it says in the books”. I hated the leaving of the money.

The reflection afterwards :
Quote:
Passing people who seemed strange and ghostly: the world seemed a myth, a transparent plane, and all things upon it were here for only a little while: all of us, Bandini, and Hacmuth and Camilla and Vera, all of us were here for a little while, and then we were somewhere else; we were not alive at all; we approached living, but we never achieved it.”

I think that is what the fog is about. You asked in an earlier question about the setting, and I have been wondering about the fog ever since.

And then there is this: “there shall be consolation, and there shall be beauty like the love of some dead girl”. I am sure I read a comment where he states he doesn't in fact love Camilla at all, but some other girl. I can't find it now. All I can find is the account of his love for the woman where he eats her cigarette butt (which I do think is complete make believe for Vera, but with Arturo, who knows?)

And what about that earthquake? (Did the earth move for you too, darling?) Sorry, naughty suec. Far too serious for such flippancy. That bed resembling a man crucified kind of stands out. :yuck2:

Edit: I was struggling with this post last night and that is possibly because the episode is allegorical.


Well, I told you I’d get back to this. So here is what I think, for what it’s worth….

pg. 85 wrote:
“Forgive my body!” she said. She put her arms out to me, the tears flowing down her cheeks. “Think of my soul!” she said. “My soul is so beautiful, it can bring you so much! It is not ugly like my flesh!”

I think Vera represents Arturo’s struggle between the flesh and the soul, good and evil. I still can’t decide if she was real or a fantasy. But I do think he chose to write about her because of that struggle.

suec wrote:
“there shall be consolation, and there shall be beauty like the love of some dead girl”. I am sure I read a comment where he states he doesn't in fact love Camilla at all, but some other girl.

Also, Arturo has not really gotten over Rosa. I think this quote represents that. And I think both Camilla and Vera (in different ways) are his reaction to that guilt he still feels for her death.



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:31 am 
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Quote:
I think Vera represents Arturo’s struggle between the flesh and the soul, good and evil. I still can’t decide if she was real or a fantasy. But I do think he chose to write about her because of that struggle.



Nice one, Liz. I like that interpretation. :cool:

Quote:
Also, Arturo has not really gotten over Rosa. I think this quote represents that. And I think both Camilla and Vera (in different ways) are his reaction to that guilt he still feels for her death.


Yes, I agree. I thought that comment was a reference to Rosa. And I do believe that his behaviour with the two women are influenced by Rosa.



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