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From: Paul C Duggan <pduggan@world.std.com>
Subject: (urth) Interpreting Peace
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 13:41:17 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

SPOILER WARNING if you haven't read Peace.

The final story of the geese seems to be crucial for making sense of
Peace. As Adam Stephanides already said Weer is the one who has
dwindled. But if Christian Baptism is the only hope for Weer in the
novel, one might ask where else is this intimated and does Weer ever
receive it, or possibly demonstrate the "baptism of desire".

Some thoughts, since I just finished reading Peace and had a small book
club discussion on it.

[1] The Book of Gold in Peace are the books of Mr. Gold, including one
that has a greek name that translates "The Book that Binds the Dead". In
other words, the Necronomicon, fitting right in with Cultes des Ghouls,
which was purchaced for a small Massachussests university library
(Miskatonic). Weer himself may be similarly writing a "Book that Binds
the Dead" as he passes through so many stories of his won life and tells
his own ghoulish ghost stoires along the way.

(Another Lovecraftian nod is found on p.6 of the Orb trade paperback,
where in a brilliant musing on the potential for other racial
sterotypes Wolfe writes:

	the bland chance of the scientists (whose blind, 
	piping ape-god,	idiot god, we have met before; we 
	know you, troubler of Babylon)

whichg seems to bear more than a passing resemblace ot Azathoth.)

[2] The Necronomicon is a "fake", though described by Lovecraft, but
Gold has brought it into existance and in a few hundred years there will
be thousands of copies. 

[3] Weers old childhood home has been converted into a library, 
filled with books. But significantly, the library purchaces
the fake diary of Kate. This purchace generates the interest in
searching for the burried treasure, which creates a rift in the developing
relationship bewteen Weer and the librarian (when she pulls a gun on

[4] Weer is searching through the memories of his mental house and
calling up stories. Are the stories true or false? Are they beneficial,
or harmful, leading to similar ill-fated relationships?

[5] Weer's "true love", Margret Lorn, find the Ressurection Egg after
running through the rain to the farmhouse. If anything this might
qualify for a baptismal scene which will save Weer from his indulgent
self-referential memory trip.

Also of note is his meal of donuts and tea with sugar, 
which Maggie slips him under the table. 

What of the Egg? It conatains scenes of the 'less dramatic' elements of
the ressurection narrative. One of which (breakfast on the shore) is the
story of Peter's restoration after his betrayal, also relevant for
Weer's situation.

The Egg as art-object though causes no end of trouble as Macafee and
Olivia scheme to get each other to give it to them in return for

[6] What's with the memos and such nailed to Weer's desk?

[7] The general themes of inheritance and carrying on into the future
are all over. The town will revert to the indians. The women play at
being indians. Olivia is concerned with how archaeologists will perceive
her breeding project. Weer considers himself the last human being and
feels as if an arcaologists spade is digging up his skull. Gold "salts"
the future with fake books. Weer leads the plant tour in reverse, going
from final product, up the conveyor belt, into the processing plant. 

I realize that there's not much coherence in these obervations. Maybe
someone else can piece these together.

"I am an impure thinker. I am hurt, swayed, shaken, |  paul           + | +
elated, disillusioned, shocked, comforted, and I    |                 --|--
have to transmit my mental experiences lest I die." |                 + | +
                     --  Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy    |  pduggan@world.std.com

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

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