Wednesday, October 10, 2018

So plausibly finite

She kisses his knuckles. One to eight. And then again, one to ten, because she forgot the thumbs. Bobby stops her there. When did these gestures become so plausibly finite? How many more kisses do they have left? How many more new moons? Paul Bowles knew the danger that comes from counting. "Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really." The Sheltering Sky. John Lehmann Limited, 1949.
This series, at a planned 27 volumes, is not so plausibly finite.

The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest, by Mark Z. Danielewski, is another trip and a half. It picks up where A Rainy Day in May left off (May 10, 2014) and runs a little more than a month.

We learn that while the cat looks like a kitten, it may be as old as fifteen years, it may be ancient. It's also microchipped — it's identified as a deceased dog.

This volume is less chaotic structurally than its predecessor, but seemingly chaotic things happen. It is addictive. It is magnificent.

Xanther is developing some kind of symbiotic relationship with the creature — they need to be together. Yet, I feel, Xanther needs to return it to its source (or its destination) — where it truly belongs. Weird things happen at the animal shelter.

Astair is having some kind of crisis of sexual awareness. Also, her thesis has been rejected. She's to write about cats — rather, the cat. She doesn't even like cats.

Anwar goes bowling. And something weird happens.

Özgür, I like him, tormented detective type. Something called Synsnap. Three dead bodies in Long Beach. I want Özgür to have a real story.

And Luther's in some nasty shit, they (who?) want him dead. Something weird happens. But he's an asshole. Why do I feel sympathetic toward him?
Is feeling a casualty of accuracy?
Then there are the stories I don't much care about: Jingjing's missing cat, cabdriver Shnorkh, and I don't know what Isandorno's thread is about except the Mayor dropped the baby into the deep fryer.

I don't know what it's about.

I think it's about the Orb. Are they on the run, or is it some kind of cult? Does the Orb actually go off when Cas is hiding with it in the bathtub? I don't think so, but it's kind of like something's gone off. But then it does go off. It's some kind of computer, designed by the Sorceror. Anwar knows the Sorceror.

NPR: 'The Familiar Vol. 2' Is Better, Stronger ... Weirder
Danielewski is deliberately using this stone-simple through-line of a girl, a cat, a family, as a clothesline from which he can hang ten thousand freak-outs.
I was sad but also relieved to learn that this show has been cancelled. I have Volume 3 queued up, and at least now I have a hope in hell of getting to the end.

What I love most is the feeling of realizing that I hadn't known how badly I needed this. The sense that everything is connected.

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