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Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 16:19:36 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) PEACE: Sherry as Mrs. Ted Singer?

Here's a wild thought: what if swinging Ted Singer did the honorable thing
and married bad-girl Sherry Gold?

There has always been a strange link between the two in the text.  When
Sherry tells Ted, in the waiting room, "I've got . . . " many re-readers
have voiced the opinion that while they expect her to be saying "I'm
[pregnant]," given the sentence construction, she must be saying "I've got

Sherry tells Weer that she has had sex with two "boys at school," but she
may be lying about the age of one (one must be a school boy -- she wears
next years graduation ring on a chain, iirc).  Readers suspect that Sherry
at 16 is pregnant because Dr. Van Ness says she is putting on weight.

Twenty-something Ted Singer has that memorable sequence about, basically,
cruising along and picking up high-school girls like Melissa and/or Lisa
and having sex with them.

Weer, for his part, has an ingrained habit of referring to women by their
maiden names.

If Sherry is pregnant, by one of three fellows, Ted might well be her first
choice to try and pressure into marriage.

If Sherry marries Ted, then we can see how Weer would know about her for
the rest of her life.

As for what Sherry said in the waiting room, I think it was something like
"I've got cancer."  That is, the voice of 1970s Sherry is grafted on the
image of 1950s Sherry, and the message of Sherry's impending death is there
and Weer does not want to hear it.

Granted, this is all pretty vaporous.  Except there is a haunting line
about a female singer in the desert, which comes after . . . well look:

(Berkley 63; Doubleday 66)

Para beginning: "It is very hard for me to remember sometimes that my aunt
Olivia is dead."

Next line: some sort of religious/philosophical argument between Aaron Gold
and Ted Singer (which must have been before Aaron quit, i.e., before Weer
had sex with Sherry).

Next para: about the birth of children.

Next para: about Ted Singer having sex with teenage girls.

Next para: about death.  About seeing a woman in the desert, hearing her
song as she moves out of view, we wait for the next note but it does not
come; we go to find her, there are only bones and rags.

This sequence, starting off with Olivia, then slewing around to Ted's
argument with Sherry's brother, a seeming digression on the birth of
children, then Ted's sexcapades (flowing from the birth part, as if to
answer where they come from), and ending on a sad note about a female
singer suddenly dying . . . well, it has a lot of weight to it.

Olivia's sudden death cast a long shadow over Weer's life, but the death of
Sherry seems to have triggered his non-fatal yet debilitating stroke.  Weer
is very skittish about dealing with Sherry's death, since it also points to
his own; so when he sees her in the waiting room he regresses her to the
safe age of 16, etc.

In the hc it is "twenty . . . pounds underweight" (3).
In the Berkley pb it is "twenty . . . pounds overweight" (3).

I'm certain we have talked in the past about the argument between Ted and
Aaron as being about Sherry: I recall someone writing that the "religious"
angle was probably something like "Keep your filthy goyim paws off my
sister!" and the "philosophical" part was "Play the field around the plant
like I do or I'll have you arrested for statutory rape!"

I don't recall if we've ever discussed Sherry as Mrs. Ted Singer, but if we
have, please remind me!  I'm ready to believe.


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


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