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From: Allan Lloyd <lloyd@sundial.kc3ltd.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Kevin Malone
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999 09:52:38 +0100

Hello, this is my first posting to the Urth list so be gentle with me. I
was tempted out of lurker status by the discussion of Kevin Malone. It
was entertaining to watch two
opposing views of the story being debated, but I couldn’t help feeling
that both had been  distracted by a typical Wolfeian red herring.
This story is to me one of Gene’s more obvious Christian parables. The
clues in the text
are almost too many to mention, the most blatant being the butler’s
name, Priest. The
house is compared to a Renaissance palace which should have a “red robed
descending the steps.”
The “beautiful” couple’s first meal is lamb in aspic, the breakfast is
eggs Benedict. The garden is full of roses, and the first time we see
Kevin Malone, he is weeding the garden (removing plants that fail the
The couple are being tested for their suitability to join the ranks of
the family (of God), hence all of the servants who have already
undergone the test have the same name,
After a summer of paradise, the strain in their relationship exposes
their lack of love, and they react in different ways. The wife offers
her body to the butler and is gently refused, but the narrator threatens
Priest with being thrown into the fire, a particularly Biblical bit of
violence, and thus fails the test, leading to his expulsion from the
When Kevin Malone appears he bursts through the window in a gust of
wind, with a
mention of spirits and ghosts. When telling his story he mentions being
brought up in a
room over a stable, and makes reference to “supper at a long table” not
being for him.
When he talks of the murder of Betty Malone he mentions bloody rags and
a hammer,
with all the links with the crucifixion, and although they don’t know
where she is buried, she is with them in the garden (resurrection).
I think that the talk who committed the murder is not relevant, there
are few clues in the text as to how or why she died, but the important
thing is that both she and her murderer have been forgiven(she for
having been a "tramp").
Kevin Malone himself is portrayed as a character with faults, especially
misogyny, but he has given up his wealth to serve others, as have the
other servants who have obviously been previously tested in the same way
as the current couple. (There are 24 of them, perhaps two sets of twelve
The wife sits at the feet of Malone, and symbolically dies when she
passes out at his feet. She is reborn with a hangover next day, and
joins the family, while the husband leaves the house and is last seen
searching for meaning but failing to find enlightenment.
The final sentence, with its repetition of the phrase “rich man” refers
to the parable 
concerning camels and eyes of needles, and seems to be saying that a
rich man can be
possessed by the spirit of God and earn himself a place in the Kingdom
of God by serving
The final argument lies in the names. Malone is an old Irish name
meaning “follower of
Saint John”, so all the servants have the same name. Marcella is the
female form of Mark, another apostle, and Kevin means “beautiful one”.
I hope this makes some kind of sense, and is worthy of inclusion here.
Could I say that reading the archives has brought a wealth of new
meanings and appreciation for me to the works of Wolfe, and please keep
up the good work,
                      Allan Lloyd

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

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