From: "John Barach"
Subject: (urth) Free Live Free Revisited Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 16:05:58 -0700 Yesterday night (well, early this morning), I finished reading Free Live Free (for the first time). I noticed the frequent references to both Oz and Popeye in the book, though, if I remember correctly, it's only in connection with Barnes that Popeye references show up. The book did remind me a bit of a Chesterton fantasy. It's been a while since I read The Man Who Was Thursday or The Ball and the Cross, but I recall that the latter had an episode in an asylum, too. The similarity may simply be that the book starts with some fairly normal events and people and then moves through some bewildering episodes toward an apocalyptic conclusion, by which I mean a conclusion where there's a revelation of what has really been going on all along in the world and in the lives of the characters. (I suppose, to some degree, though, you could say that that's the plot-structure of a great number of novels....) Anyone else feel a sense of Chestertonism here? SPOILER I noticed in the archives that there was some question about the location of the gizmo, which is said to be "in a wall" and (I think, though I can't find the reference now) "under a sign." At the very least, a sign is mentioned in connection with it. Barnes recognizes it on the last page of the book. The gizmo is a wall, all right. It's the door and the sign connected to it says FREE LIVE FREE. At least, that's how I understood it. John --