(urth) TWK Able's ambulance

Ramon Cahenzli ramon.cahenzli at gmail.com
Sun Dec 31 08:01:38 PST 2006


I've only discovered this list today, and I have to confess not having
read any Wolfe except for TWK so far. But I did buy all novels in the
BotNS line, so I'll promise to catch up.

TWK left me with a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach and with a lot of
questions, most of which I don't really need to find an answer for, others
that I already found explanations for in the list archives. Sometimes it's
nice to leave some things in the mist, though, I think it can add to the
magic of a book.

But there is one question that is gnawing on my sanity right now. What's
with the ambulance in The Wizard? This scene came around the climax of the
story, when I least expected to be confronted with references to Able's
American identity:

"Beyond the black pavilion was a highway. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and minvans --
all sorts of vehicles -- were traveling on it, going so fast that it seemed
certain they would crash. There was a school bus, a red hook-and-ladder, a
black-and-white police car, and a white ambulance. Those stand out even now.
The ambulance rocked from side to side as it tore along with its light bar
blazing and its siren screaming. I climbed down and went to the highway. The
drivers would not stop for me, and I shouted at their cars, thinking how far
the ambulance was getting ahead of me. Able -- the real Able -- was in that
ambulance.  I knew that, and I wanted to help him." (W, 459)

James Wynn (I think, please correct me) said earlier on the list:

> The ambulance? That's Arthur Ormsby being taken to the hospital
> of course! They found him in a coma possibly near death from
> hypothermia in that valley where the Moss Aelf took him.
> Presumably, when he reaches the Most High God, he will awake.

I quite like this interpretation. Another list member (I lost the actual
posting) spoke about how America-Art's identity might have switched into
Mythgarthr-Able's body and the other way round. So at the time the
ambulance scene is described, the body in the ambulance contains
Mythgarthr-Able's unconscious mind in America-Art's body (I would guess?)

Perhaps Sir Able's story starts with the unconsciousness of Art in America
and all is just a coma dream, with Michael's fetching Able from Aelfrice
at the end of The Wizard being the moment right before the doctors finally
manage to reanimate Art's body?

I realize I might be going into a naive and dangerously Hollywoodesque
direction full of kitsch with those thoughts, but I'm confused enough to
permit that ;)

Is there any definite explanation for the ambulance so far?

Thank you (and a happy new year just in case) :)


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