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Women & Men Chapter Discussions > 0956 Mike-Whipped Landscape Specially Flown In

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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 Beautiful, Jonathan! I like how you clarify things. It's amazing that this book was written before the internet age, because its structure could have been inspired by internet activity. I'm looking at my iPhone push updates, and I see tons of Davids, Jonathans, etc., with no notice of which forum they're in or other details, only the name of the thread. That is reminiscent of how the names get mixed up in his book. There's also this sense of disconnectedness in getting information because you're constantly bombarded with information, so your attention shifts to shards of information here and there in order to catch it all. You're forced to come to a quick conclusion about an info. on the net before you go to the next one. In fact, info. is laid out in chunks so that people are attracted to and can get the chunk in one look. Maybe somebody can write a review from that angle, because that is an interesting angle.

message 3: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan, thanks. Excellent summary for a fantastic chapter. I would only emphasize about the fantastic portrayal of the Father and Grown-son relationship as what took place at the Mayn house. Those moments of relationship I've only ever seen in McElroy. Not so much plot, but so much of a gem.

message 4: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments If I think too hard about the content, it freezes my ability to summarize what it's about. There's too much stuff for my mind to process and summarize. I had to simplify everything.

message 5: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

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

pp. 956-969
Let's situate ourselves with a sentence from the middle: 'No, he had flown from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, hopped to Washington and had rented car on spur of moment thinking to make stop in Philly to make purely speculative inquiry, but drove straight here; car's not his, could have taken the Metroliner (not here direct, of course), but he'd felt like a car.'

Jim Mayne, before even leaving for Hartford, hears reports of a prison escape. The escapee is the man visited by the Chilean Economist. He 'was now said to have abducted his son.' Jim leaves NY, he's in Connecticut and Pennsylvania working on 'overdue copy' on the Women's Bank (We are told a friend of Grace's does P.R. for said bank. Do we know who?). Not sure yet what the speculative inquiry in Philly may have possibly been but he drove straight here and here is Windrow. Mayne is visiting his father (Mel 'must be seventy-three seventy-four'), and although he is showing a 'provincial lack of concern' about it, he is being tailed by a dark blue car with New York plates.

Jim had 'never been content like this with his father that he could recall'. They talk about family both in its present and past incarnations, and they talk about geothermal (one installation in northern CA called The Geysers built on an area it's discoverer thought might be the gates of hell. A postcard of The Geysers is pictured below) and wind power. (McElroy not only has such range, but understands that because most people do his characters should.) Jim screws in a new light bulb. Mayn is told by Mel that Flick is considering going by her birth name...Sarah.


Jim opens a safe, looking for H.M.Mayne's diaries, but they have been stolen, presumably, as Mel tells us, by a man who goes by the name of Saint-Smith. Fringed jacket. Ponytail. Spence. This Saint-Smith was supposed to be as a visiting bookseller, with interest in a copy of John Barleycorn given to Margaret by Jack London himself. Mel wouldn't let him have it.

Jim leaves his father, back to NY in the rental car. He sees the blue car parked up the block by his grandparents' house. Jim sees a hitchhiker, picks him up 'on the chance that he was the big guy driving the blue car' but he is not, as soon after picking up the hitcher the blue car moves in behind Mayn. The man in the car tells Mayn that 'he shouldn't pick people up' as Jim sees that the man is carrying a pistol with him. There is palpable tension, but it seems as if the hitcher isn't aggressive. Jim even thinks he may know him. Is it that boy Jim gave a ride too back on Brad's Day? And what does he mean when he says that he was

inspired by a man aliased Santee Sioux [Spence? What?][...]to revisit that very cemetery he had often passed and apply this little power he was known by that is, at a certain place there in the graveyard, maybe two side-by-side places: on the possibility that whoever was buried there (two women, he said) [So, Sarah and Margaret, eh? though Sarah isn't buried] had in them this unique strain of residue that, when found in the human body, sometimes wasn't waste but an opposite, or so some western Indians still said, who according to Santee-

I wanted to keep the hitch-hiker stuff together, but in between picking him up and the bizarre excerpt above, Mayn pulls over and calls his father from a payphone (Hitch-hiker still in car). Flick phoned Mel, looking to speak to Jim. She is concerned as to whether or not Jim got a manuscript she sent him. She says it's fiction. Jim guesses it's environmentalist.

Didn't really fit anywhere else, but I think this speculation is key:
'Mayn knew so well that Spence had drawn him into the picture by assuming was already deep in it...'

pp.969-985 part 1
A patrol car pulls over the blue car trailing Mayn and the hitch-hiker who are in a blue car of their own. Mayn half recognizes the driver, a heavy young man with a large pale hat and aviator glasses. The driver is later identified as Ray Vigil when the hitch-hiker lets on that he was under the impression that Mayn is Vigil ("Ray Vigil. In a blue car coming out of that town. You don't have the hair of an Indian and not quite the nose either but...").

The hitch-hiker: He's basically 'kind' Mayn decides (though Mayn sneakily appropriates his partially-loaded pistol). He is being directed by Spence. Ira Lee (!) is involved. Ira's Great-Uncle Willy identified the hitcher as a Trace Window (a psychic or to put it in terms Foley might use, someone very adept at using the colloidal unconscious) in '45. Before talking to Willy in person (yelled at to come by Ira), Willy communicated with hitch-hiker through the metal of the 'magic screwdrivers' in the back of Yard's truck when the hitcher hitched back in Brad's Day (I hold the right to take back this last clause, though even if I do, I want you to know that McElroy did have the hitcher say 'magic screwdrivers').


There are a lot of questions to be answered, but most questions are clear; There's (at least) one sentence that I don't even know how to form a question around. This is bottom of 969:

The hitch-hiker was explaining that Santee was an alias for a man who had sold to a New Hampshire paper a photograph of the hitch-hiker and a friend blindfolded apparently before a Cuban firing squad[...],when it was two photos not one, but alas, his father had recognized his T-shirt and his left ear-Mayn would never forget the pleasant cactus-green double lobe-and that had done it for the father...

pp.969-985 part 2
What is the origin of our Trace Windows? Well, according to our Hitch-hiker, particles of a natural radioactive allow known as crypto-thorium (thorium crystal pictured below) came on a rare corridor of weather from Canada. In some it causes breaks in the skin, 'a hole in your head no less' (Navajo Prince Mom anyone? remember she is said to have had a 'fontanelle that suppurated like a saint's wound') but in others it 'might yield you energies'. Trace Windowhood. It seems to be hereditary. Trace Windows can detect other Trace Windows and the particle runoff from their corpses too.


The hitch-hiker was instructed to detect if the particles were 'found coming up' from the two Mayn/e Women. They were. The force of one was a lot greater than the force of the other. 'Mayn laughed. "I hope it was the second one that was stronger, because there's no body in the 1945 grave." Hitch-hiker says there is someone under Sarah's stone and "If they're not very close to the surface, then there's an ever stronger charge of the alloy coming from them."

pp.969-985 part 3
Hitch-hiker falls asleep during the ride. Mayn wakes him up when he arrives in NYC. Mayn tells him, "I keep getting hit on the cheekbone". This future-strike is soon to be Mayn's present. Hitch-hiker tells Mayn a phone number.

Mayn is at press conference (?) at a police station. The wife of the escaped Cuban is being questioned. Reporters crowd her. While answering a question (Mayn's I think, time is running jagged), her hand sweeps to the side and swats another newsman's mic into Mayn's cheek. Mayn asks: "Is he headed for Santiago?" '"He ain't going to come here" [?] the woman said.' She answers other questions, but it's Mayn ('her eye knew Mayn') she's answering....

An officer, Mary, tells Mayn he had a call at the station 'a while back', but they don't take calls for reporters.

Mayn discusses The Cuban with a relation, a detective, Harry. They talk about the Foley connection to Mayn, Cuban. Despite what has been reported "the kid was taken right about the time of the break, it couldn't have been the father and what would he want with the kid anyway?"

Mayn thinks of the time he temporarily lost Andrew in the NYC subway system, thinks of all the murdered children killed every year in the city.

Mayn arrives home. The package from Flick has arrived. But has it been tampered with? It didn't come by post office, but was brought by "some guy" and Manuel signed for it. It's been sliced open and taped back.

It's 'something called Effluent Pollution Reciprocal Involving Both Water and Air and it is by Sarah Mayn'. Jim thinks back on his marriage. 'He can't explain why it fell apart. How's that for maturity?'

Oh yes, when I read Mike Whipped..., the emotional content was never overwhelmed by McElroy beginning to fire off some preliminary plot rockets that have been carefully placed throughout the chiliad of pages behind us. (view spoiler)

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