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Women & Men Chapter Discussions > 0464 known bits I

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Discuss.

message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Love your summaries! Thank you. I just might finish the book today.

message 3: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments I forgot that I have two of his short stories that were not included in the novel to read. So it will be a little longer. The fun for me, though, starts with the laying out and playing with the puzzle pieces. This is the best literary puzzle I've come across.

message 4: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Nov 01, 2012 07:12AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan, your summaries are like memories and daydreams coming up out of the future to the past which is my present. There were a lot of nice unknown bits, the twins and the old couple and a brief Jimmy cameo and the red bicycle with clinking milk bottles which almost ran down Grace Kimball as she retrieved her own bike from the shop, in that Grace chapter, bits of memories of future to come, as you remind us mindfully and knowingly here.

These Jimmy chapters are what re-recurred to me when I read the following anecdote about McElroy:
"We were standing on the subway platform one day, once again on our way to the ball park, when a train pulled into the station and, as not infrequently happens, only one of the two doors opened, causing impromptu collisions and decisions and delays -- an unexpected obstacle. Joe pointed to the closed door and said, "That's what Women and Men is about.""

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

really copping the brain straining information overload after this chapter. loved it nonetheless.

message 6: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments It finally came together for me last night. Now, to compose my review. Writing is difficult for me. Thinking is much easier.

message 7: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan's deleted posts ::

This is the story of Jimmy Banks. He is a messenger, for the messenger/physic service Grace notes in the chapter titled after her. There's Jimmy, he's called retarded, but he seems more autistic than what we think of as retarded, like he knows his way around streets without looking at a map, and he has his own way of doing things, creating various 'lanes' in his mind to get from one place to another. His boss is Mr. Turnstein. His co-workers are Sra Wing and a pair of separated siamese twins, they're androgynous and named Goodie and Baddie. If you think back, they're in the Grace chapter too.

So one day Jimmy delivers a poster to Grace, Maureen, and Cliff. Grace asks him what he'd like more than anything and he stammers ('with a lot of b') that he wants a bike. She knows where she can find one for him. He dreams of starting his own messenger service, 'getting places', and the bike will help him there. Grace begins to ask for Jimmy by name from Mr. T.


Jimmy builds both a client base and a base of potential messengers for his service (taking Maureen's advice to organize, he aims to build a union of 'all city messengers with retardation or physical problems by the end of 1977). Client wise, we already have Grace and Maureen, then we add Amy (sending a photo to Jean!), Luisa, Mr. North's boyfriend (the guy putting on the Hamlet opera), and a certain Ray Santee who Jimmy sees on the subway and then who (still talking about Ray) picks up a package at a theater when a package is sent by Mr. North's boyfriend (confused?). Grace is helping him get a bike, Maureen is helping him organize, and this Santee guy says he can hook Jimmy up with some space, a safe place.

Things are going well for Jimmy, but not perfect. His mother (like our Opera Diva, mom is named Luisa for those keeping track of all the pairs) doesn't want him working, his boss would be angry if it's found out that Jimmy has a bike, and Jimmy has made some mistakes: He forgot to tell Grace to sign the receipt for her poster, and the wrong person signed for the package to the theater. It looks like Ray Santee shouldn't have been signing for the package. (He is the one who intercepted it, right?)

People call Jimmy a 'dumb mothe'-fuckin' retard', but he eventually realizes that this Santee isn't who he says he is. Ray Santee has a business card in the trash that says Ray Spence and he picks up the phone "Spence", maybe thinking Jimmy won't notice. And this deal for space is too good to be true, 'how can own business premises be own unless rented, while Santee is owner, isn't he?'.

Jimmy opens Spence's drawers and finds an envelope w/ two photos, one of two guys in green with a third guy who is bald, they're all smiling. The other photo is of a young woman in a big hat standing beside a pigmy. Neither photo, I think, can for sure for sure be recognized at this point, but I think it's a safe bet that Dr. M could be the bald man. Jimmy knows: 'Something was going on at the theater, and the opera singer Luisa was involved.'


The chapter ends with Georgie (who knows Jimmy from the neighborhood) asking Jimmy where his bike is at while Jimmy is walking with his mom. Jimmy doesn't speak because he doesn't want to. He just stammers. His Mom laughs and takes his hand, but he silently knows he's moving up, he's 'expediting transport of messages and building of self confidence and clientele'. I'm hoping he makes it.

What a great chapter, and beside our boy Jimmy who is fantastic to read bout, it's nice seeing some old faces. I feel like I haven't had enough good Grace time lately, especially because I was told she was part of a pair-main character deal with Mayn. Will Mayn decrease and Grace increase? It's nice to have mention of Jean again, especially connected with Amy. Okay, I could go on forever, but I won't.

Oh man, I'm excited about finishing, but also realize that this one is going to leave a vacuum. Good luck!

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