Boxer, Beetle (3)

In the present (Chapter 12 of Boxer, Beetle) the narrator is kidnapped to Claramore, where the key to the quest is thought to be: an incident suspected to have taken place at a fascist conference in 1936.

Then we are back in 1936, at Claramore, the bizarre estate of the Erskine family. William Erskine, inheritor of the estate, rigged it up with high-tech (for 1936) inventions and gizmos in accordance with his vision of the technological future.

Sinner (Seth Roach) and Philip Erskine arrive for the upcoming conference. Pangaean gets mentioned a few more times (145, 149, 163). Philip's father William reads the son's manuscript and decides to have it bound. Later on as the drama at the household reaches a macabre climax, Erskine--which Erskine I'm not certain--has a morbid fantasy involving the third Pangaean Grammar and Lexicon.

It also bears mentioning that Evelyn, Philip's sister, is an aficionado and composer of atonal music, which she ends up attempting to justify to Sinner (171). I mention this noting that one of the prefatory quotes to the novel comes from Adorno on dissonance.

Chapter 13 (August 1936) teaches us that the entire family and the assembled fascist guests all belong in a looney bin. It's a bizarro Addams Family world, only truly morbid. And each fascist we encounter is crazier than the next; each insists on the peculiarities of his own cobbled together world view, such that none can agree and all end up bickering.

Chapter 14 begins with footman Alex Goodman obsessed with two goals: marrying Evelyn's maid, and securing a "top-class conjugal safety coffin." But that's normal compared to what transpires by the end of Chapter 15, as the insanity at Claramore reaches a climax, in more ways than one.

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