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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: The Barnables
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 22:40:05 

Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:

> The full name on that page is "Evan S. Barnable": remind me, was his dad
> named Evan?  Do we have evidence that his dad called him Smoky, and that
> Smoky is what the "S" stands for; or is Smoky just his hippie handle?

I haven't reread the whole book in a long time, but the only evidence
bearing on these questions I can find offhand is in the section dealing
with Smoky's childhood: Smoky "lived a lot in three different suburbs
with the same name in three different cities, and in each his relatives
called him by a different name--his own, his father's, and Smoky--which
last so suited his evanescence that he kept it." ("Anonymity," I, 1, p.
6 in Bantam TPB.)  Which seems to mean that Smoky's father was not
called Evan (since his name was "different"), and suggests that Smoky
was first addressed as  Smoky by his relatives and not by his father,
though Smoky may still be his middle name.

> (When I think of his family I just remember his five uncles

Actually, they were Smoky's half-brothers and sisters.

> and the way he
> and his dad would move from one uncle's house to the other . . . states
> beginning with the letter I, that whole thing.)

There is more information on Smoky's family and childhood, but very
little; which is kind of peculiar, come to think of it, given the amount
we're told about the Drinkwaters.  This would seem to argue against the
view that sees Smoky as the positive pole of the book and the
Drinkwaters as the negative pole.  The Drinkwaters are important in
themselves; Smoky is only important in relation to the Drinkwaters,
poignant though his story is.  (It's late at night, though, so I may be
all wrong about this.)


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