Friday, February 02, 2007

Against the Blog: 3-10

Yeah, the slowdown of these updates is rather inevitable--I'm consumed with schoolwork, and I'm also (allegedly) teaching reluctant freshmen how to write this semester, so there's a certain amount of stress in my life. But rest assured, I will continue Against the Blog, at whatever pace. Hell, I'm more than halfway through; it would be ridiculous to give up at this point.

The Zombini family in Venice. We learn that one of the family's ancestors, Niccolò, was apprenticed to a family of mirror-makers on an island called Isola degli Specchi, who, being fanatical about their secrets, would not let anyone leave on pain of death. But Niccolò escaped, and the rest is history. Whether or not the island actually exists is doubtful. It varies, you might say. But Luca and Bria (his eldest daughter) visit anyway. Records of Niccolò are sketchy, but it seems he designed a paramorphoscope. The doubling thing. Luca explains to the guy they're talking to, Professore Svegli, about how he doubled a number of people. How to get them back together? he wonders. Not easy--you'd have to get the two of them back into the contraption. But because now they're no doubt all leading separate lives, this is unlikely to work.

Dally's fallen in love with Venice, and the family is going to go on without her Erlys is upset and blames herself for abandoning her daughter &c.

She works performing acts of legerdemain and the like. One day she meets "an English painter type," Hunter Penhallow--yup, the guy who appeared a long, long way back, was briefly on the Étienne, and ended up traveling into the future, maybe. He didn't seem to really have much purpose back then, but now he's back, and he pays Dally to model for him. Hunter is a refugee from a war that has yet to take place.

The two are not romantically involved. This must be made clear. She thinks maybe he's hitting on her at one point, but then, not really--she never sees him hitting on anyone. She, being, oh, I don't know, it must be eighteenish, has frequent moments of lust, and has to get herself off discreetly at night.

At some point, Hunter decides to start painting at night, which is okay with Dally, because it's easier for her to sleep in the daytime, and not have to fend off predatory men preying on naïve young American girls.

Bria comes to town to visit her. Not sure how long it's been. As some review I read somewhere noted, Pynchon here depicts more and better interactions between women than he has in the past.

One day, he introduces her to his friend Andrea Tancredi, an anarchist-type who fierily preaches the destruction of Venice. He does apocalyptic kind of paintings. She is highly attracted to him. And that is the end of this section.



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