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Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 14:41:47 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) Sherry Gold's death

Stone Ox wrote
>I'm not convinced.  I see Sherry's death as being one instance of the
>"everybody is dead" theme, and Weer's stroke as being the first of
>his ailments in the afterlife (although it may be a reflection of a real
>stroke that killed him) as in "... I am very ill.  Sicker, I think, than I
>have ever been before--sicker, even, than I was this winter, before
>Eleanor Bold's tree fell."  In fact, I think Weer had his posthumous
>stroke _because_ Sherry Gold died, and that she was the last
>person alive who remembered him well.

Oh, okay.  Just be sure to mention your variant reading upfront so we can
avoid unnecessary tail-chasing.

So Sherry's death triggers Weer's wandering?  No, just a posthumous stroke,
a turning over in the grave--the wandering is still triggered by the fall
of the elm (hundreds of years after Sherry's death)?

If =this= is true, then any post-stroke memories (in the factory, limping;
the illness and death of the secretary; the letter from Peacock to Smart on
the desktop [?]) are all of the more spacey "corridors of time" category,
like the visits to Dr. Black (did it ever really happen?) and Dr. Van Ness
(compilation of many visits boiled down, with bad splices), rather than the
"realistic" category of nearly everything else.

Still, that would be pretty funny: "Doctor, I've had a stroke!" "What, and
after you've already died?"  (This humor remains whether the stroke was
posthumous or note.)

Stone Ox also wrote
>I set forth this interpretation in more detail in my post of September 7,
>2001, which, either because of its timing or its content, seems to have been
>largely ignored.  And thanks to Michael Straight for his suggestion, obvious
>once its been made, that the Chinese philosopher's headrest at the end means
>that Weer will be reliving his afterlife (and not necessarily for the first

I don't know if you have addressed this or not, so I'll just go ahead: One
problem with the "recurring loop" reading of PEACE is that there are clear
ways to signal such a thing: FINNEGANS WAKE (and in genre, DHALGREN) uses a
split sentence, the opening fragment then lining up perfectly with the
ending fragment many hundreds of pages later.  The text is a circle, no
question about it.

The framing structure of PEACE does not really allow such a thing: it is
quite linear. A. D. Weer starts writing in a notebook (the beginning) and
then he stops writing (the end).  It would not have been too hard at all
for an ending fragment to match up to a beginning fragment, but it did not
happen.  Nor would it have been difficult if Weer had a notion to express
himself in non-writing, through song or sculpture, for example (change of
media, but the same story), but that did not happen, either.

I am not denying that there is a strong sense of recurrance in PEACE, I'm
just pointing out a potential problem in taking such a recurrance in a
literal way as meaning that Weer will do the same thing again, without
writing it down.

Speaking of which, I'm hoping I can get Gene Wolfe to go to the Winchester
House in San Jose, or tag along if he is already going!

Oo, even better: get some friends to go dressed up as characters from
PEACE.  Have Sherry Gold wandering around inside Winchester House, bobby
socks and all.


Sirius Fiction
booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
31 copies of "Snake's-hands" until OP!


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