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Posts Gone By > Personae: Perplexed by the dead writer: Ch I - VI.V (End of Act 1)

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message 1: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Oct 24, 2014 06:21PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments ***Open discussion of Chapter I through the end of Act 1 of the play found in chapter VI below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through this section before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish this section and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with some general topics we'll see repeated throughout the book.

Mic Breaks discussions:

1) Using your inner Sherlock, what deductions can you make about the crime at this point in the novel?

2) Where do you think the Players in the play are?

3) Which is your favorite aphorism or selection from chapter III and why?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from this section.

2) Share your favorite word(s) used in this section.

3) Do you have a favorite or most intriguing character at this point in the novel?

Location reminder

If you are returning to this topic after having continued past this section, here is a plot reminder:

Chekhov’s gun is released from its emergency case.


message 2: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Oct 24, 2014 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments Inner Sherlock
I feel more like the befuddled every man watching Sherlock work his magic, rather than Sherlock himself when considering this question. Yes, that is me on the sidelines with a furrowed brow and an overwhelming look of confusion as I miss clues that fly by.

After reviewing the section in question, the following points require more investigation:

1) Detective Helen Tame is a specialist who is called in for very specific criminal cases. While there have been references to blood and to high profile cases, her exact specialty remains a mystery.

2) The deceased subject is in the kitchen with 18 orange pills around and in his mouth. It is not clear if the unnamed pills were the actual cause of his demise, or if they were placed as a false clue.

3) There is no blood in the kitchen. There is blood on the molding in the hall which leads to the kitchen, and in other places. The blood does not seem to belong to the deceased.

4) The writings belonging to the deceased and the writings of Dr. Tame are related in an unknown way. John Doe's writing are primarily philosophical in nature and excerpts from Dr. Tame's writing are a comparative dissertation of two famous musicians.

5) There is a clean spot on the carpet which seems significant. Did a suspect clean this area in order to remove evidence?

6) While Detective Tame is at the crime scene, a woman and a child appear. They do not interact with Detective Tame, nor she with them.

Where Are the Players?
My first impression lasted seventy five percent of the way through Act One. I cast the players as the Monty Python crew in a Flying Circus skit. The setting, ambiance, dialogue, and speed of prose interchange was spot on for me.

After Ludwig's reveal as Linda, and Charles' response, I transported the Players to the set of a late 90's Destiny's Child video. When watching said video, note the odd, disjointed choreography and the awesomely outdated, overly color saturated set. Say my name, say my name (Linda).

After Charles unexpected demise, I warped the remaining Players into the Hunger Games. The primary difference being that the characters are adults, some are infirm, and most have no idea of what game they are currently engaged in.

A small part of me thought of the Players as different personality characteristics in a single person who is struggling with internal dialogue while being in a coma.

Favorite Aphorisms
My favorite part of this chapter was about suffering fools. While the excerpt in it's entirety is too large to repost here, I will include my favorite quote from the excerpt. "Not that it's always easy to identify a fool either because many is the time that I've been going along suffering some person like it was the most natural thing in the world when I'll suddenly realize hey this person's a fool, and what's worse I've been suffering him, gladly!"

Favorite Quotes
"His shriveled skin looks simultaneously aged and fetal with a hint of subcutaneous water."

"I want the small part of life that flows through me to transmute then emerge as a metaphor, clean and hard and inclusive but sharp enough to cleave the world that we the pained may digest it whole."

"..how an unexplained human death nonetheless retains a core truth that can be teased into discovery."

"Now I'm tired. Even minimal social niceties exhaust me and the commitment to future such interactions doesn't help."

"How can we ever be sure of what another has seen or experienced?"

"You want reason? I have all the reason I need. The reason I'm going is that, unlike you all, I do not have the luxury of time to wait and see how it all works out in the end. My end nears and I need to work against it."

Favorite Words
Diaphanous waters, various evil machinations, oratorical skills, weirdly violative, tactical lenticular experiments, inartistry, inviolable mathematical truths, abdication and cessation, attendant circumstances, and nebulous.

Favorite Character
My most intriguing character is a tie due to substantial information deficits on both persons. I fully intend to discover much more about both the deceased John Doe and Detective Helen Tame in the second half of this book.

message 3: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Oct 24, 2014 06:23PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments Sherlock: At a loss for a sensical theory I’ll head straight into nonsense. I’m going to postulate that the Writer isn’t actually the dead man but instead is our heroine's internal voice processing the crime scene. In order to think about the information clearly she has arranged it (under a false guise of chronology) and it ranges from very erratic (the aphorisms) to structured thoughts.

Further, the detective has very little information to work with so her internal Writer fills in the gaps with information about herself. This information would be easy for her to filter as she tries to make deductions but is impossible for us, the reader, to interpret. An early example is the aphorism where the Writer says “..., I do not like to talk.”. We know this matches the detective based on her interaction with the police officer.

We also know the detective is a strict linguist which is a permeating theme for each of the Writer’s works. The Writer notes that there were deaths. But later wordplay about loneliness and being just ONE indicate a possible contradictory thought.

The Ocean is the Writer’s internal monologue as she struggles to interpret a crime with almost no evidence.

The play is where the detective’s mind truly begins trying to crack the case. The beds are arranged in an “X” to mark the answer, there is a weapon present to see if it fits into theoretical suspects hands. Early on the Writer points out the need to stop making assumptions (referencing the Stranger’s legs). The individual players aren’t representative of specific suspects per-se, but maybe different theories or ways of thinking about the crime.

I see I’m going on a bit too much with this theory! Let me wrap it up by saying I think Charles represented the elderly male committing suicide, being a solo victim. That theory is disproven near the end of the first act when he is decapitated. The remaining theories are left to, apparently quite literally, fight it out.

Location: Inside Dr. Helen Tame’s head, see above.

Aphorism: My favorite is vengeance to twinkie as it seems to encapsulate the rest of the novel that I’ve read. It mixes average characters with a biting literalism to create a Laurel and Hardy-esque comic routine.

Quotes: Not that it’s always easy to identify a fool either because many is the time that I’ve been going along suffering some person like it was the most natural thing in the world when I’ll suddenly realize hey this person’s a fool, and what’s worse I’ve been suffering him, gladly!

What about, like, a really tough sister?

He’s certain the solution involves the word perpendicular, or is it parallel? He often gets the two confused. Also horizontal and vertical. And when he needs to put something in alphabetic order he kind of still sings the song.

Words: obviate, aconspiratorial, aphorism, inchoate, tactical lenticular experiments, abnegation, you’re a goddamn Shaolin monk.

Character: Dr. Helen Tame, at least the one I’ve made up in my head!

Overall: Huh, I need to read more of this!

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