(urth) The Land Across (letters, hands, and shoes)

Greg Kurzawa greg at kurzawa.us
Sun Mar 2 12:53:39 PST 2014

** potential spoiler alert **

I'm working on analyzing one particular evening in "The Land Across," 
and I'm hoping someone can offer a bit of insight, or maybe just another 
perspective. The evening in question is Grafton's second night at 
Naala's (the first night they slept together). Grafton claims that he 
and Naala showered separately, then went to bed together. Later that 
night, the hand climbed into bed and attempted to strangle Naala. They 
searched for it high and low, to no avail.

I have two theories, and one question.

Theory 1(a): Grafton wrote a letter to someone while Naala showered. I 
feel like this is fairly obvious; the text practically states it. 
Grafton is wondering how to get in touch with Russ, then mentions 
sharpening his pencil and tearing a couple of flyleaves from one of 
Naala's books. He even says, "I did it while Naala was in the shower." 
The only thing he doesn't specify is exactly what "it" is. But does he 
really need to? Pencil + paper + time alone = he wrote a letter.

Question 1: To whom did Grafton write that letter, and what did it say? 
Russ seems the most likely recipient. I'm thinking Grafton outlined his 
current situation with Naala while requesting that he and Russ help one 
another if possible. If he did write the letter to Russ, it might mean 
that the events of that night (Yelena being attacked and Rosalee 
escaping prison) are consequences of his writing that letter. It might 
also explain why Grafton appears so broken up about Yelena's death, for 
which he might feel personally responsible.

Theory 1(b): What good is a letter undelivered? I'm thinking that maybe 
Grafton gave it to the hand for delivery. At this point in the story, 
Grafton has already repeated the idea that the hand came from Russ (pg 
140) so it's logical to assume that it would know how to get back to 
him. With Naala showering, Grafton writes his letter, tucks it into the 
hand, and lets it out the front door. Later, while Naala sleeps, Grafton 
gets up and lets the hand back in. We learned that Naala sleeps deeply 
when Grafton got up the previous night to use the bathroom. When he 
flushed the toilet it "made so much noise I felt sure it would wake up 
Naala, but it did not" (pg 101).

The hand then attempts to strangle Naala, and hides so well that it 
seems to have vanished.

Theory 2: Grafton found the hand and hid it from Naala in his shoe. Why 
in a shoe? Earlier, Grafton states, "If I ever got my hands on something 
really fancy I would put it in my shoes." (pg 103). Of their search, 
Grafton says, "we searched [the apartment] good. I did, particularly." 
Naala never had a chance of finding the hand because she "was looking 
for a person, but I was looking for the hand." (pg 147). The next 
morning they visit the prison and learn of Rosalee's escape. Naala sends 
Grafton off to hunt for Rosalee (a wild-goose chase, but that's a 
different puzzle) while she claims to spend the entire day turning the 
apartment upside down looking for the hand, which she fails to find. 
After a long day in the city, Grafton returns to the apartment for a 
suspicious little sequence involving shoes (pg 182). He removes one, 
after which he seems to want Naala out of the room. As soon as she's 
gone, "something" touches his hand---perhaps the hand climbing from the 
shoe he's probably still holding? Only after he's had some wine does he 
get around to removing the other. It's my belief that Grafton had the 
hand with him all day, although maybe not in his shoe the whole time.

My hope is that someone will either tell me I'm wrong (and why) or else 
confirm that others have thought the same thing. I know that these are 
fairly minor points, but it seems as good a place to start as any.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.urth.net/pipermail/urth-urth.net/attachments/20140302/eb59a6a5/attachment-0002.htm>

More information about the Urth mailing list