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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Re: "KM" defense II
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 17:41:14 +0000

Roy wrote:

>     But we _do_ know what memories he claims. He states that his father was
> the "man-of-all-work", his mother the "parlor maid" (p-45). He does _not_
> state that he was the son of the dead couple. The elder Malone was the
> "stableman".

You're suggesting that as well as the elder Malone and Betty Malone, there were
another -two- Malones on the estate who were KM's parents. To have two Malones on
an estate may be considered a coincidence; to have four begins to sound like
contrivance. Why do they all have to be called Malone? Why didn't Gene Wolfe call
Betty and her murderer Derby and Joan, and avoid needless confusion? And why does
the narrator not find any mention of your two Malones, or their child, when he
researches KM's story? Most of all, why are we set up to think that the elder
Malone and Betty were KM's parents, and why are we then carefully told at the end
of story that they weren't? If KM has always "known" they weren't, what was the

The answer to all those questions is that there weren't four Malones on the
estate as you suggest, there were two, as the story tells us. Betty Malone and
her murderer have the same name so that KM can think they were his parents, and
we are told that this was coincidental so that we can realise he's wrong.

>  A man-of-all-work is _not_ a stableman.

I'm not sure I share your certainty, but I don't think it matters anyway. Priest,
I seem to recall, says that the murder happened before his time. He's certainly
telling the "story" of the murder, as it has come down to him, and in the telling
perhaps Malone the man-of-all-work has become Malone the stableman. Kevin Malone,
being so much closer to the source, doesn't make this mistake. Just a thought.

> Yes, he is possessed, but by the estate itself.

I did consider this once, but it doesn't really tie in with the details of the
story. Why did the estate "want" to possess Kevin Malone? If we were told that
the place burned down after the murder, or was converted into a theme park, we
could perhaps understand why it would want to possess someone and make them
rebuild it, but as the facts of the story stand, why should the estate bother?
And why does KM want so badly to live as a servant, and sleep in the servant's
quarters of the house he owns? Doesn't that sound more like someone who is
possessed by a specific person, rather than a whole estate?

I think I've now said all that I want to about "Kevin Malone", and then some. If
everyone else on this list hasn't got fed up with posts on this subject, I know I
have. Read the story, folks.

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

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