(urth) This Week in Google Alerts: _Home Fires_, 1982 roundtable

Marc Aramini marcaramini at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 5 18:51:34 PDT 2013

--- On Wed, 6/5/13, DAVID STOCKHOFF <dstockhoff at verizon.net> wrote:

Between the third-person point of view, Wolfe intersperses Skip’s (and later Chelle’s) first-person meditations. From the first page, Skip has worried that he is an old man. Chelle’s original plan was that she would return to a rich contracto, and he would get a beautiful young contracta. The plan has worked but isn’t satisfying either of them. Skip is wealthy, but Chelle is uncomfortable about how he makes his money. Chelle is still beautiful to Skip, but she sees herself as damaged. Because she has the thoughts and impulses of another woman, she also worries that she is mentally ill. . . .

there are still a few things that don't make sense to me, and you know how I am about that. Mr. White/Mr. Blue/ Coalman Baum - in flashback described as a heavyset blonde fellow going to fat, in the present very lean, and making jokes about asking his daughter out on a date now that he is no longer her father at the end (ie - a joke about her divorcing them, but at the same time a bit possible if her father has "left" that body). I am not sure if investigating the name Coalman Baum or the people in the suicide ring is what gets Zygmunt, Skip's private investigator, killed.  
 The voodoo scene with Tante Elise - a male with a gaunt face and a female walk through the gate and are classified as dead - are they there or spiritual forms present in the living individuals.  For example, Achille is stopped from advancing from a tall dark shadowy deadman, who is head and shoulders above the shorter man (Charles Blue is the only tall male besides Chelle's Jerry).  Is this tall deadman at all related to Achille working for "Coal"man Baum, as Chelle's final little statement out loud to a leaving Skip indicate that Achille was sent by "them" to get Skip - are Achille's loyalties unclear? I guess I would like more relationship between that voodoo ceremony and the rest of the novel.  During it, Chelle keeps talking about the people buried on Johanna that they tried to recover (or at least, their bodies).  Are the lumbering dead woman, man, and then the shadowy tall man related to Sims, Pununto or some other male figure, and Blue,
 and are they included in the counting of 7?  It does not seem that the dead man or the driver should be included at that point.  Or is that tall dead man related to the recently killed Al Alamar?  This does not seem likely.
A Grison is a wolverine.  
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