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From: Craig Christensen <2644@mn3.lawson.lawson.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Forlesen
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 10:44:00 

Michael wrote:
>Ack.  People keep referring to this novella and I've got a note   
>about how much I liked it, but I can't remember what it's about.  Could
>someone please e-mail me a brief something to jog my memory?

Forlesen is one of my favorite Wolfe stories.  The main character's, in   
fact most or the characters' lives, seem to be condensed into one long,   
drab, pointless day.  Forlesen wakes one morning a blank slate.  Some   
memories slowly return.  He recalls that people cover themselves with   
clothing.  He remembers language.  Before he can remember more his wife   
begins to rush him off to work.  She points out a stack of manuals which   
explain his responsibilities.  He only has time to scan them.

His wife can barely contain her terror.  She woke before him and had time   
to read through her manuals, one of which told her that if her husband   
doesn't go to work, she and the children will starve.  After she finally   
pressures him to leave, he hears the door lock firmly behind him.

I believe that 'Forlesen' is a name invented by Wolfe to invoke the idea   
of someone forlorn or lost.  I had the feeling that Forlesen was   
dislocated from a real past elsewhere.  He seems to know that life isn't   
supposed to be like this.  I thought that if he had more time to reflect   
he might remember more of his real past, but he is hurried from one   
station in his life to the next by his wife and coworkers.  These people,   
themselves, seem to be as lost and befuddled as he is.  They are   
obviously bluffing their way along and after Forlesen begins to imitate   
them his 'progress' at work becomes streamlined.

There is more to the story and there a couple of subplots.  On the   
surface, it seemed to be a sketch of life in the industrial workplace.   
 It reminded me of the movie 'Brazil'.  The part that confused me the   
most was during Forlesen's drive to work.  Can anyone tell me what he saw   
holding up the elevated road?  I particularly enjoyed the scene with the   
patrolman here.

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

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