Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All the Dead Yale Men by Craig Nova

All the Dead Yale Men by Craig Nova is about family secrets, one of which is fathers shouldn’t cheat sons. In addition keep track of the rules, too. Number one: never put someone in a position where they can say no to you; number two: if you are applying for a job, don’t ask what the employer can do for you. Explain what you can do for him. Number three: the truth is a dangerous substance. The Mackinnons are a tough lot and all Yale graduates and Harvard Law graduates. Grandpa, Pop, a lawyer, dad, Chip, a lawyer, son, Frank, a prosecutor, much to dad’s chagrin. “Harvard Law to be a prosecutor?” And Frank’s daughter, Pia.
Catherine Mackinnon, Pop’s wife, kept notebooks, which may hold the secrets, and Frank begins reading them. He learns about his grandma’s lover and the outcome, a negotiation. Frank’s best friend and colleague commits suicide while Frank is trying to talk him off the bridge. His dad died earlier that day in his arms. Frank has his wife, Alexandra, and their relationship is spot on as they discuss the day’s tragic events. This is a healthy marriage.
Fathers and sons are one type of relationship, but fathers and daughters are a whole different kind of basket of troubles, and Frank and Pia are cascading along their precarious path. We are seeing the effects of genealogy, of fate, of how the past just doesn’t stay in the past. Chip was a spook with the CIA and that fact creates paranoia in the reader as life closes in on Frank as if planned and not an accident. Is it free will or predestination? Or is it like the Greeks wrote it, which is the favorite read for Frank. Is it always just another Greek Tragedy? It seems like we are just pawns, choose a hand. Like chess, life is about choices, finesse, deceit, taking control, acting, and love.
The bear swayed from side to side. Yes, it seemed to say, we will settle this later.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

As the news of the birth of George Alexander Louis is announced, I begin Susan Nussbaum’s Good Kings Bad Kings. It’s not about that kind of king though.
Yessenía Lopez, Joanne Madsen, Ricky Hernandez, Michelle Volksmann, Teddy Dobbs, Jimmie Kendrick, Mía Ovíedo are all part of a place called Illinois Learning and Life Skills Center or ILLC (ill-cee). Some work there, some live there. Some have severe handicaps, others, don’t. There is a Ken Kesey element about the place and should be working to be more like the Green House Project perhaps, but for kids. How we treat our children, especially the disabled is frightful. The fact that a man shot a child in Florida and was found guilty speaks volumes about us. The voices of these young adults bring me back to my final days of teaching in NYC. These are my former students in so many respects; it is haunting. I laugh then cry, then laugh again while wiping a tear from my cheek. It also rejuvenates an anger I used to have about the System and still have apparently. It brings back fond memories of the year a drama class of mine did a play called “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night.” The play is filled with monologues about why a young person wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat or crying or cowering in fear. My young scholars wrote their own monologues and they were brilliant and so moving, so tragic, so celebratory. The angst of these young people is so far different than Eric in The Unknowns or even our favorite angst ridden youth, Holden Caulfield or even that real problem child, Hamlet.
Nussbaum is a playwright and this “novel” is more like a play than a novel. It is like Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues. There are some interactions in each individual chapter, but from that speaker’s POV. There are some telling statements by each character. Joanne: “I was hit by a bus a long time ago. The No. 8 Halsted. The CTA paid me generously to apologize for hitting me. The No. 8 Halsted Street is a straight shot to work. So here I am. The air is humid with irony.” Michelle: “But the work I do is important because I’m getting people off the streets and into warm beds with three meals a day and medical help. Do you have any idea how many people are out there without medical? Or dental?” Ricky: “This is the best job I ever had. I like helping people. I like being a part of the solution.” Jimmie: “I cannot even imagine what it’ll feel like to be in my own place again. Alone. Quiet. I already know what I’m going to do the first night. I’m going to light a candle, lay back on my mattress, and relax. Just feel the peace. Breathe in and breathe out. Think about… nothing at all.”  Joanne: “Kids like this are trained to stay helpless. So they have to stay institutionalized. There’s no other way to explain. It.” Joanne: “Here Teddy’s vision of the future; He wants to live in an apartment, get a job, decide where he wants to go and when he’s going to bed. Hooking Teddy up with Elaine Brown (lawyer advocate for disabled) was the only thing I’d done since I started at ILLC, and if anyone found out I did it, they’d probably fire me.” Jimmie: “Joanne always thinks it’s the System, And I agree! But the thing is – does that, like erase that people are responsible for their choices? Seems like we go back and forth about that every time we see each other. I can’t say to myself, ‘It’s the System,’ but does that mean I couldn’t do anything about anything? To change things? To me, the two things go together. You can’t change one thing without changing the other.” Ricky: “I told Joanne about Pucho. She said ‘I think the day will come when prisons will be recognized for what they are and they’ll be abolished. They’ll keep some of them around as museums, to remind people of the level of barbarity we’re capable of. I’m serious. It has to end. It has to.’”  Yessenia: “Marjorie, what I’m saying is us youth come to these places on account of we got no place else to go and the least they could do is take care of us and make sure nobody gets beat up or gets raped or left in a shower by mistake and killed. And don’t send people off to the booby hatch just because they homesick and didn’t take their meds. We are teenage youth, and I mean, what do they expect?”
There was The Snake Pit, then One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, now we have Good Kings Bad Kings, which is more than worthy for the PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction. This fiction ain’t fiction and we still have so much work to do to help our children and we still don’t get it right with all our yak yak about children, education, and health. It is always about the System and because of that children suffer, corporations thrive, and politicians stumble and fall.
This is an important book.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth

The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth is about hacking the girlfriend problem for a high school lad in 2001. This seems to be Eric’s problem well after college, too. Eric is into computers and coding. He is a freshman in high school in Denver in 1996. He keeps a notebook about the girls, data collection. One of the girls in it steals it and uses it to humiliate Eric. Eric is more into computers, hacking, and coding. He befriends another geek, Bill. They spend time in the basement of the school writing software. Then we jump in time to the future after college in San Francisco where Eric started his own computer software company and he is still awkward with the ladies, until he meets Maya, a reporter.
Eric doesn’t matures as he should as the book progresses through his two segments of life, high school in Denver and a professional life in SF. Sexually he seems to remain the same insecure, self indulgent, over concerned person. His relationships are bizarre especially as he negotiates and navigates this realm. Parent child relationships are also strange and convoluted in his life and in Maya’s. Roth is too interested in shock rather than truly developing better characters. I think he missed the boat on a good area he should have pursued, False Memory Syndrome. Had this been introduced earlier and expanded and explored more, I think he could have had a better story. He wallows in too much geekness, which was fun, but left other areas of intrigue unexplored.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Black Swan by Chris Knopf

One of my favorite pubs in the whole world is the Dirty Duck or The Black Swan. This is so good it has two names. It is located upon the Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon, the home and resting place of William Shakespeare. I have spent much time there studying the bard one summer and others visiting to view some of his more remarkable plays in the various theaters situated around town. I’ve spent many lovely evenings in the Dirty Duck eating and drinking while rubbing shoulders with the many actors who come to Stratford to engage in their craft. So imagine my surprise when I picked up Chris Knopf’s Black Swan at the local library. Sam Acquillo and Amanda are caught in a freak storm off Eastern end of Long Island in a sailboat, Carpe Mañana; they have sailed down from Maine for their very rich friend Burton Lewis. The storm drives them into the harbor on Fishers Island, which is closed for the season, as this is October, and an unfriendly dock master greets them. Eventually they make their way to a berth behind the old hotel for off islanders named the Black Swan, which is newly bought by a recently retired man, Christian Fey, who has brought along his daughter, Anika, and son, Axel. Sam and Amanda stay on the boat as they wait for the parts to repair the helm, which broke in the storm and to wait out the storms that will be coming in the next week. Interaction with the family is inevitable.
The Black Swan slowly fills with a former partner, Derrick, his wife, Del Ray, and a driver/goon, Bernard ‘t Hooft. Another couple from the company arrive, Grace and Myron. Myron is discovered hanging in the shower by Grace. Sam and the local state trooper take over what Sam deems is a murder and not suicide for obvious reasons concerning the tension of the rope used. Another storm is on the way. Sort of reminds me of the movie Key Largo. With the help of the Southampton police and the Internet, Sam is slowly being found out about his skills. The connections between Sam and Christian and his company are over a piece of software, N-Spock, which Christian developed and Sam used in his engineering days. Sam used version 2.5, now they were up to version 5.0, which seems to be the problem. 5.0 hasn’t been released and seems to be in trouble, which may be the reason for Myron’s death, perhaps state trooper Poole’s beating and evacuation from the island by the Coast Guard, and Axel disappearance. Sam is alone waiting for reinforcements as the storm builds in ferocity. Back on board to wait the storm out, it’s time for vodka.
Sam has Amanda take the sailboat away from danger and hide out n a little cove he knows about while he stays at the Black Swan and use his cop/friend’s advice to investigate the missing of Axel and wait for the state troopers to finally appear. It’s all about code, programming, and genius. Synesthesia is the key, a beautiful painting holds the answer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Little Green by Walter Mosley

Easy Rawlins is alive and recovering in Walter Mosley’s Little Green. Easy has had an accident, almost died; in fact he has dreamed he has died. He is recovering in the home of his foster children’s home now and the man who saved him, Raymond, has asked Easy to help him. Easy passes out once again after answering yes. He has been laid up for two months, yikes. It’s the late sixties in LA amidst all the racial tensions.
Mosley is having fun with us as he takes us back to the 60’s in LA after the riots and during the hippie movement. It is like an acid trip with Alice in Wonderland type of characters, actions, and scenes. It is a racially charged time filled with drugs and fast women. There is “Rockford Files” kind of feeling to the story. Easy finds the young man and he comes with a sack full of money, a beaten body, and a memory lost in an acid trip. Classic music is sprinkled liberally throughout the story as Easy moves from crash pads to day rate motels to drug hideouts to his own home that has been taken over by a squatter when everyone thought Easy was dead since that accident two months ago. Mosley does not make the 60’s romantic nor a place you would want to have been especially since easy is black and from his perspective life ain’t easy in LA after Watts.
This is a very timely book by Mosley. In the wake of Treyvon Martin and President Obama’s words about growing up in America as an African-American still have its challenges. Mosley has sprinkled throughout this wonderful novel, scenes where the recovering Easy is harassed by cops and is defended by white citizens. Certainly an important theme of this novel is racism as seen in the late 60’s and written in 2013. Not enough has changed in that time and Mosley is reminding us of this horrible fact, even when we have an African-American president.
At one point Easy thinks, “I was a black man in a white world where black men were hated – and worse, feared. Keith Handel, for all his shortcomings, was white. He was dead and I had survived. Where I came from that was a crime in itself.” Still is, just ask Treyvon Martin, especially if he had survived and Zimmerman hadn’t.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Today was the penultimate day of the Tour de France. I wish I had kept track of how many times I heard this word used today on the broadcast. Even before today, the penultimate day, it was used at the beginning of the penultimate climb of the day in a multi mountain climb day. In building up to the penultimate day, the broadcasters spoke of how the penultimate day would decide so many positions in all of the races except the green jersey.The penultimate day didn't disappoint as so many positions changed and were set for the final ride into Paris tomorrow, following a thrilling penultimate day in the Alps. More exciting than the traditional time trials we have seen on the penultimate day in the Tour de France. I hope the race directors, having seen the excitement of this penultimate day continue to make the penultimate day an exciting HC mountain top finish as we saw today on the penultimate day of the Tour.

My days will now change radically after three glorious weeks of watching the Tour this year. My days began with short 40 mile rides so I could get back to watch the Tour as well as avoid the scorching heat we have been getting. It took me two and one half months to ride 2000 miles while the riders of the Tour did it in three weeks. I've not been reading as much as I'd like, although I have been able to get to the beach at the end of each day for a swim or two and dinner on the beach.

I will now have to wait till next year's Tour to hear 'penultimate' used so often.

Au revoir 'penultimate.'

Friday, July 19, 2013

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer is about letter writing. Two writers who spent the summer of 1957 in a writer’s colony start up a love affair through letter writing. Their chemistry begins because they are writers and each found the other based on their writing and appreciated the skills of the other. The entire novel is a collection of letters between Frances and Bernard and their friends, Claire and Ted, who serve as sounding boards for the affair.
The early letters are filled with questions of the other, as they sound the waters and get to know each other, to learn of the other. Long letters tell of how they got religion. Religion is important to them. Talk of books, authors, people, but mostly about their religious past and acquisition. I’m reminded about just how formal letter writing was before computers. A real art form: penmanship, correct grammar usage, and delightful stories as anecdotes to points being made.
I find them a bit boorish. They intellectualize everything too much. They seem above and better than everyone. As they speak of family, friends, and colleagues, they, especially Francis, is almost off putting. I’m anticipating some comeuppance. I was shocked, and had to double check when I saw her use “Their” when she should have used “They’re.” (page 53) He closes with more affectionate terms like “Love” besides the safe “Yours” which is how Francis closes her missives.  
Two writers, one a poet, Bernard, the other a novelist writing about each other’s work. Bernard is the better critic, as he is so encouraging of Francis, who seems to have such trouble publishing; while Bernard easily publishes and Frances is so much more critical. An interesting relationship. Bernard is the romantic here. He has a manic attack and is in a hospital for a while and then released to his parents. He moves to NYC where Francis lives and they get closer. God has become the center of their lives.
Bernard is a teacher and Francis takes it up with this reflection: “But I have to say, teaching is, and I can’t quite believe this, something I enjoy. It is a losing battle, but unlike the losing battle of tending to my father and his illness, I can see just enough enlightenment in their eyes to make me want to show up to the next class. Of course, I like being in charge and being paid for it.” Bernard and Francis are going in different directions as unrequited love is driving them apart in an ugly way with disastrous results.
This tale does remind me of some of my past and I hope some of those women I knew find this book.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bad Bird by Chris Knopf

Sam Acquillo’s lawyer is Jackie Swaitkowski, who is the main character in her own novel, Bad Bird by Chris Knopf. Jackie was having dinner with Sam one night when a car exploded in front of the restaurant they were in and five people were killed while Jackie received serious wounds and required plastic surgery. Now a plane falls out of the sky and nearly hits her.
Jackie is the kind of girl who just can’t help herself. She is nosy and a busy body. She immerses herself into the situation by becoming the lawyer to the husband, Ed Conklin, of the lady who dies in the plane crash. Why? Because the woman looked at her from the plane and Jackie doesn’t sense this was an accident. Of course the husband, the plane mechanic will be suspected.
Of course it gets more complicated and involves a long lost brother, a crime committed in the past, the wrong person convicted, a sex change, and the mix of usual suspects in a Chris Knopf caper. This is a good quick rainy day read filled with fun surprises, twists, and turns.

Friday, July 12, 2013

San Miguel by TC Boyle

Some familiar themes and locales merge in TC Boyle’s San Miguel. A sickly woman, Marantha, retreats to an isolated island, San Miguel, off California coast with her husband, Will; her daughter, Edith, and help, Ida, the daughter of poor Irish immigrants newly arrived in SF for the gold rush for her health. It is 1888. They now own an abandoned sheep farm, which includes a house and sheep. It is a new start for her until she sees the shape of the house and wonders if she made the right decision to spend her last ten thousand dollars on this. So much of this is so familiar in a Boyle novel. When he invents a word, he parenthetically defines it. He is a master storyteller with dry wit and a master’s sense of dramatic timing.
Little adventures fill the first couple of weeks. Adventures all city dwellers experience as they transition to rural rustic farm life especially when isolated on an island, your island. Repairs to buildings, fixing up the house, and exploring the island are the activities. Hearing the barking seals, the bleating sheep (4000 of them), and listening to the night creatures in and around the house complete the acceptance of their new life. Edith is beginning a dance with Jimmie, the little 15-year-old farm hand.
As is usual in a Boyle novel we slowly descend into a place of despair and this happens after the shearers leave. The big build up and wait, the rain, the leaks all give way to the sun and excitement when the shearers finally arrive. Then they leave and it all spirals downward like the water in a toilet. Edith’s mother dies, Ida, pregnant, goes back to her mom. Edith and her stepfather return to the island after she thought she had a life that began at a boarding school in SF. But that all changed and she found herself back o the island with her waiting Caliban.  No escape, no choice, no control. She persists and gets away with Bob the sealer. She becomes Inez Deane an actress.
Turn the page and we find ourselves in 1930 with Elise and her new husband Herbie moving into the new house on San Miguel as Jimmie greets them. Will and Jimmie built the new house. Jimmie is the link between the past and the present, the constant, the heartbeat of San Miguel, the last man standing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hard Stop by Chris Knopf

A messenger from his old employer, George Donovan, CEO of Consolidated Global Energies, visits Sam in the middle of the night at his home in Hard Stop by Chris Knopf. The reason for the visit is to get something on Sam so Sam would do something for Donovan, find his missing girlfriend, Iku Kinjo. Donovan is married and not to Iku. Donovan has a slight problem and needs Sam to extricate him quietly. Sam left Con Global under certain conditions and a cloud so the nighttime visit was necessary for leverage against Sam. Sam upset that applecart.
It is quite the rollercoaster ride for Sam as he is in chase and search mode while constantly looking over his shoulder and collecting firearms along the way. His search for Iku ends when he finds her dead at her boyfriend’s house. He is becoming a regular at Southampton Police HQ; in fact a new wing may be named in his honor.
He spends more quality time with his daughter. He reflects on some of the good memories of his dad. Sam is lightening up and is even getting in fewer fights. He always stayed away from the past, but the past reached out and yanked hi back in. He had one way the extricate himself from its grasp and that was to solve the murder of Iku.
Sam spends more time in this story self examining than in his previous here adventures.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma

“A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.” Kafka.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma is a magical journey about writers. Our narrator is the son of a flight attendant who is left at Terminal B each day as his mom flies the skies and walks around the country serving nuts. His social skills get him to debutantes, college, and so much more. He becomes a writer cause he tells such good stories and better lies.
This is an interesting tale of two men, one gay, Julian, and a woman, Evelyn, involved with the narrator off and on while she is wooed by more moneyed and titled men. The two men are intellectual heavyweights and always devour Evelyn’s wooers.
Stories within stories are a feature of this novel as it meanders in and around the creative juices of our two writers, the narrator and Julian. We have the truth, then we have lies, then we have fiction, which is made up of both truth and lies. Truth is more elusive than the lie. The lie is easier to recognize than the truth. We know lies, but we don’t know truths. Or do we? Our lives are made up of lies and truths and the dividing lines are always blurry. The Great Imposter, Walter Mitty, and others of similar ilk are our gods. We are even told when young to aspire to greatness. It’s the lies that help us continue when those aspirations aren’t achieved or are altered. The truth is in the lies we tell and believe. It starts out this way everyday, “Good Morning, How are you?” “Fine,” is usually the lying response. We lie for convenience cause the truth is boring or not quite known.
Our narrator is filled with literary allusions. Throughout, he takes on different personas from lit and then moves on.  The quotes preceding each chapter are a heads up to the persona. Tis a jolly rollercoaster ride. The fiction of a very old man is the best since it is based on so much memory and history and examples. Don’t forget about our doppelgänger. The race to find his writerly self, our narrator circumnavigates the world through Asia, Africa, Iceland, and so on and so forth. There is even a great discussion about the “Tower of Peace.” Bravo. The narrator gets lost in Iceland, like everyone does, and in his search discovers that the isle has 300,000 inhabitants that produce 1000 new novels each year. Very prolific.  
Novels within novels.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel West

Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel West is all about what happened to Mitchell Zukor after college. After living through a disaster in Seattle, Mitchell is predicting what the future will cost the corporation housed in the Empire State Building if a disaster strikes that building. Disasters cripple corporations and a new mind think has to be developed that saves corporations from liability.
Mitchell is working in and living in a world of fear, FutureWorld, a new industry in nightmare analysis. That is he represents a company that thrives on the fear of others to make money. He is back in contact with a young woman, Elsa, from his college days and whom he saved from dying from a rare disease, Brugada. She is now on a farm in Maine while he is in NYC. They are exchanging mail, since she has no other means of communicating from remote Maine. “Elsa was like an alien who beamed into his office once or twice a week with bulletins from a planet in some distant solar system where laws of gravity didn’t exist. Down was up, dark was light, and no one was afraid of anything. She lived suspended in a permanent condition of hopeful, childlike, brainless bliss.”  His job reminds me of a Bosch painting, anyone of them.
A new hire Jane. She has Mitchell’s skills and is a great candidate to be the company’s Cassandra. “FutureWorld,” said Mitchell. “It’s a matter of death and death.” “FutureWorld,” said Jane. “Every silver lining has a cloud.” Just on schedule a “terrorist” storm hits NYC and Mitchell and company hit it big or do they? Tammy was a deluge and when it was over, he as sternman and she as bowwoman paddled the Psycho canoe artwork up Third Avenue to Bennett Park. I’ve always dreamt of something bizarre like this when I lived in NYC. I always had my survival stuff, camping gear, and provisions ready for the worst.
Reading this book during a few very hot and humid days in an air-conditioned house made me a believer in what Mitchell sold. Then it rained, it pored.I loved this book because I've always lived my life with this catastrophe around the corner on my mind and as part of my life. I'm prepared.
Now it’s time to reread Cormac’s The Road.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder

Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder is about a car, a yellow ’56 Chevy Bel Air named Lucy for Alistair’s dead wife much to the chagrin of his son, Colin, and to the delight of his grandson, Finn. Lucy replaced a better car, was warehoused in NYC when Ali became infirmed and moved from Sleepy Hollow on the east coast to SF to live with his son, Colin, a screenwriter, is a one hit wonder and struggles the rest of his life in the writing career. Finn is asked by grandpa to drive Lucy cross-country so Ali can have one last drive before he forgets. A simple story of three men and a car or is it?
Finn is making the trek with a friend, Randal and a cat named Mrs Dalloway, which belongs to Ali now. Finn recounts tales of Pittsburgh to Randal as they approach Pittsburgh. Colin, writes stories about how the car, Lucy, is his enemy and provides ways for his dad to disappear for days and weeks after his mom died. Colin tries to sabotage the car when a young boy. The car comes to mean different things to all three men.
Ali uses the car to escape. Colin uses matinees to escape. Finn tries to bring it all together. He has a video camera with him and he is filming for his grandpa. Pittsburgh is first on the highlight film. Colin keeps writing about his past. Ali is just waiting for Lucy. Lucy is the bond for all three generations.
Perhaps it is about loss. Ali loses Lucy his wife. Colin loses out on a career. Colin loses time going to matinees. Colin loses his dad. Colin loses his son. Finn loses the signal to his cell. Finn loses his job. They all lose themselves in one way or another from themselves and each other as well as from others. Are they losers?
Ali tells stories that Finn relates to people he meets. Colin writes stories. Finn does reality TV. Stay away from Buford, the one person town in Wyoming.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Head Wounds by Chris Knopf

Sam Acquillo finds himself o the other side of the law. He has been arrested for the murder of Robbie Milhouser, a local contractor in Head Wounds by Chris Knopf. Sam and Amanda bumped into him and one of his men at a local restaurant. Robbie was chatting up Amanda about construction and ignoring Sam. Things got heated in the restaurant and even more so outside. Cops were called to quell the altercation. Early the next morning, Joe Sullivan, a local cop, wakes Sam to tell him one of Amanda’s houses is on fire. They collect Amanda and hurry down to the scene. It’s all gone and the fire guys determine it is arson. The fact is that the arson isn’t disguised but the identity of the arsonists is. The next thing Sam knows he is being arrested for Robbie’s death with his nail gun and Sam’s footprints all around the murder seen. Jackie and Burton will handle the legal stuff, while Sam is doing his own investigating.
During his down time, Sam revisits his former marriage and fondly reviews those last days. Who would have thought Sam could drive a bulldozer. What a man. During this time of his own arrest we are regaled with past events like his dissolving marriage, his first trip to a boxing gym, and some flashes into his former life. It looks like Sam is going to have to investigate his own case that looks like an easy walk for the DA. Even though Sam knows he is innocent, the evidence says otherwise. Sam has also learned more about Amanda and her first love, Robbie. She has disappeared. Patrick, Robbie’s boisterous buddy is popping up everywhere Sam goes, requiring a police escort home for Sam each night. Sam is wondering about that first evening they all came together while he and Amanda were having dinner when Robbie and his crew approached Amanda about joining forces in the construction game. She said no, get lost, Sam got involved, and then Amanda lost a house to a suspicious fire. It was determined to be arson. And now Sam is accused of murder.
How can’t you like a fellow who thinks and even speaks like this when in a crisis: “There had to be some weighty metaphorical significance in all that, I just couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe if I kept reading Kant it would come to me. That might be all my memory-impaired, acuity-disrupted, faculty-degraded brain needed. A little philosophy to postpone the inevitable. The preordained moment when the center of the consciousness either shatters or implodes, and like a dying star shrinks down to a dimensionless point, a singularity where time and space, awareness and love, cease to exist.”
Sam is worried about his concussions and after a recent fainting spell gets his head checked out. Boxing has not been god for him as the MRI’s tell it, but he is fine as long as he doesn’t box. That is his plan. It’s the cosmos he needs to stay clear of.