Section II The Part About Amalfitano (week three)
3. Pages 163-228 (65 pages) March 19th
This week we have some further mention of the murder of young girls, prostitution, homosexuality and madness. There’s no mention of the abyss however or of Archimbaldi.
There is a wonderful description of jet lag as the product of moving between worlds. … “jet lag, which arose not from your exhaustion but from the exhaustion of the people who would still have been asleep if you hadn’t traveled” (p.189).
Amalfitano enters the story in week two when he meets the critics and displays some peculiar depression-like states. He sinks into a swimming pool and doesn’t seem to have any intention of coming up for air.
This week’s read shows us how his literal sinking is perhaps a symbol of his figurative sinking into a depression and like the scene with the critics, he seems quite happy to get lost in all his learnings without worrying about the loss of sanity.
A voice starts speaking to him and he accepts it and even embraces it. Is it himself that is speaking? is it the devil? something evil from a different universe disturbed by all the events that are happening?
There’s a scene that mirrors the asylum scene in the first part of the book. Amalfitano’s wife visits the gay poet and her friend mirrors the nurse in John Edwards room in Switzerland. She reads her book in the corner.
This shows there’s a connection between the two parts but I’m not quite sure what it is. Could it be a relationship between those who are looking for the answers and those who no longer care? The ones who know are already mad and the others are led to madness.
Is the reference to homosexuality an evil as depicted in the bible, for example Sodom and Gomorrah?
And why have the book hanging upside down outside? Is he losing reverence for the truth? Is he pouring out his knowledge and getting rid of it and is that why he writes out the names of the philosophers?
I don’t know but I have a sense that the dean’s son is like a Fight Club (Pahlaniuk) figure, a projection of his own anger or at least a personal contact from the devil. Someone prodding him with anger.
I found this part interesting but as Judith mentions it is slow and that’s because it is less plot driven.
Oh and the prostitution part is from Lola who, perhaps unwittingly, has sex with a man for money.
I’m interested to see what happens next.