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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Sep 28, 2012 10:03AM) (new)

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

Originally published in Antaeus 38 (Summer 1980).


message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments We see vignettes of the strained marriage of Dobbie, the director-producer of the documentary of the search for the body of the girl-researcher and former Olympic swimmer in the New York’s East River, and his wife Freya. The chapter starts with Dobbie talking over his shoulder at Freya’s query as they hike up the mountain, repeating the gesture of Mayn’s mother Sarah talking over her shoulder, her back toward him and her body facing the ocean, the gesture of a mother who promised her sons that they would be the one leaving, but she was the one who left. The scenes shift and “cut” as in a movie, from climbing up the mountain, to playing tennis, to the intimate scene in the bedroom, to Freya showing up while Dobbie was filming the documentary, and to flashbacks of the time they met. The scenes all show a poignancy and a sense of distance growing between them, repeating the theme of the distance between men and women, the “we”, the “wed”, with the root being Jim’s perplexing emotional distance from his mother. Freya wants Dobbie’s full attention but isn’t getting it. In response, she pushes at his knife wound to get his attention, and tried to smack the tennis ball to his head. He, in turn, claims to be giving her attention but is really only talking to her over his shoulder, never really looking at her, and wondering why she is being hostile toward him.


message 3: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Jonathan wrote: "I was hoping you would do this Aloha! Excellent summary. I liked this chapter a lot, especially how McElroy captures the moments when Dobbie fills in the gaps in Freya's thoughts, but fills them in..."

Thanks, Jonathan. I'm going to start filling in the discussions that you have not summarized. I like how McElroy captured perfectly the blamelessness of it. There is something very wrong, but who's to blame? Nobody? Everybody? Very much like a real relationship.


message 4: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

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

#3----
I was hoping you would do this Aloha! Excellent summary. I liked this chapter a lot, especially how McElroy captures the moments when Dobbie fills in the gaps in Freya's thoughts, but fills them in with his own content not hers. Black Telepathy:

"It's not that you didn't look at me, it's--"
"-that" (came his voice) "you didn't really care."
"I'm going to sleep, she said, securely wiped out by having inspired him to say what she did not mean.
Black telepathy call it, if he would only hear.


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