Monday, April 02, 2007

Chapter 56: All Hail, Marx and Lennon!

The Tunguska event makes Shambala visible to the crew of Inconvenience. In a great passage the writer notes the effect of the event, “as if those precise light-frequencies which would allow human eyes to see the city had finally been released. What it would take longer for the boys to understand was that the great burst of light had also torn the veil separating their own space from that of the everyday world” (793). This conceit, that the Chums, characters from a series of adolescent novel, lived in a space somehow separated from “the real world,” is one of most interesting constructs in this novel. The ripping of this veil is a loss of innocence, and a loss of belief which the Chum’s readers had so eagerly suspended.

The event has changed the sky, even as far away as Venice where Dally sits discussing the danger she is in with the princess Spongiatosta. Cyprian notes the change, “Something’s wrong with the light, Moistleigh” (801).

The chapter ends by connecting all of this “light” with the book’s title, where “light” seems to become a synonym for “day.”

“As nights went on and nothing happened and the phenomenon slowly faded to the accustomed deeper violets again, most had difficulty remembering the earlier rise of heart, the sense of overture and possibility, and went back once again to seeking only orgasm, hallucination, stupor, sleep, to fetch them through the night and against the day” (805).


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