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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?


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.



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