“A Wild, Interplanetary Superwar”


Miraculously, my mention of ‘machine gun’ — as a personal simile earlier in my review to describe tantamount to this novel’s use of bullet points in its disarming deployment of its slowed down list of ominous or insidious human peccadilloes and emotions and backstory events as its plot — is now echoed by an actual mention in the text of a ‘machine gun’ that could not be found in a car when it was searched. So it seems appropriate to issue my own further bullet points as I now read through to the end of Chapter Two…

The Major’s reading of a serious ‘recondite’ book before going to bed, a book for which he uses a matchstick as bookmark. Then reading in bed a ‘pulp magazine’ called ‘Scientification’ that includes a story about “a wild, interplanetary superwar.”
The prospect of Alison and Anacleto running away together to work on a prawn boat. And the suspicion that these two plus the Lieutenant once formed a ménage à trois?
Alison seeing the Private as a Gauguin primitive.
Apparently the garden shears that Alison used to amputate her nipples were rusty.
The Captain is prone to thieving things (once witnessed by Alison pocketing a silver dessert spoon) — and his “irritations, disappointments, and fears of life, restless as spermatozoids,…”
And the Captain takes the drug Seconal — “This quantity of the drug gave him a unique and voluptuous sensation; it was as though a great dark bird alighted on his chest, looked at him once with fierce, golden eyes, and stealthily enfolded him in his dark wings.”
“She [Leonora] was turned over on her side and he gave her a sharp little kick on the buttocks. She grumbled something about the stuffing for a turkey, but did not awake.”
Leonora once had a Sapphic affair with a girl called Bootsie.
Later — “she was now eating the turkey she had prepared in her dream.”
The Private often sneaks into the house to watch Leonora sleeping thus raw naked.
The Private at another time — “…still naked, he stood on the rock and slipped upon the horse’s bare back. His horse was an ordinary army plug which, with anyone but Private Williams, could sustain only two gaits – a clumsy trot and a rocking-horse gallop. But with the soldier a marvellous change came over the animal; he cantered or single-footed with proud, stiff elegance. The soldier’s body was of a pale golden brown and he held himself erect. Without his clothes he was so slim that the pure, curved lines of his ribs could be seen. As he cantered about in the sunlight, there was a sensual, savage smile on his lips that would have surprised his barrack mates. After such outings he came back weary to the stables and spoke to no one.”

Bullets, perhaps, sometimes never reach their target by dint of such wondrous McCullers prose and the spiritual resistance of some aesthetic Zeno’s Paradox?


Full context of this extract: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/03/31/reflections-in-the-golden-eye-carson-mccullers/

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