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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) Suzanne
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 16:03:03 

On Fri, 8 May 1998 Peter Westlake wrote:

> Second, the narrator wonders if Suzanne belongs to any cliques.
> I think she belongs to at least two: the Pie Club, and one other
> group of people, mentioned in the story.

Which?  The "dazzlingly beautiful ones"?  That's certainly what one
interpretation of Suzanne's daughter's appearance, but see below.
> Here's the sentence, and in particular the phrase, that still
> gives me the shivers:

>    Suzanne is listed among those "Unable to be photographed".
> And the girls in the Pie Club photo are too loosely grouped to
> be identified easily. But I bet they wouldn't have looked that
> way at the time .... when you could see Suzanne.

I hate to pour cold water on your theories, especially since this story
has always mystified me.  But if, as you seem to be implying, Suzanne is
some sort of supernatural being who doesn't show up in photographs, I
think the narrator would have heard about it and remembered it, along with
the entire town.  And if Suzanne had been absent from the Pie Club photo,
instead of just unidentifiable, wouldn't the narrator have noticed that
the caption contained one too many names?  I think "loosely grouped" means
only that the girls are posed as if in the middle of cooking, rather than
lined up in rows as is usual.

I really would like an explanation for this story.  The best I've been
able to do is: if Suzanne's daughter had really been as strikingly
beautiful as the story's next-to-last paragraph describes, then the
narrator would certainly have noticed Suzanne.  Ergo, the daughter is
really not so remarkable, and the flowery prose of the description
reflects the sentimentality of a lonely middle-aged man.  But if that's
all there is to it, it's not much of a story.  And the way Wolfe writes
it, it feels to me that there should be some greater payoff.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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