Aside from two images which I felt were not very strong (the laughing portraits of the President’s in his dream, and the final “shaft” and “penetrate” (we get it, just trust your reader), this is a wonderfully crafted story.
Canty uses language, not as a blunt instrument, but finds words that can take on many, confused meanings. My favorite was “Yolked” from the hymn song title: I imagined eggs, reproduction, fragility, runniness, eggs in a basket. He then repeats the egg imagery by calling the congregation “hens and chicks”. Later we get the word “stalky”: Sander “hangs around the edge of the room like a curtain, a piece of furniture…”, like a stalker with shady intentions, but also like the growing yellow flowers his mother planted: unsure, unready, green. And he later mentions planting seeds (of faith) but implying sex, too.
One line that I wasn’t able to interpret was when Sander says to his mother about Clara and her father, “But the two of them… ” What does this mean? I immediately thought incest, but it’s left unresolved.
I loved this messiness of language, of confused faith in Sander who Clara turns to for genuine help but who can’t help her. He’s helpless, as is she, but at least she can have pleasure.
And in the end I felt as if he had been cast into that oblivion his faith believes in: “Still eight weeks of summer left”, and without Clara. An eternity for a 15 year old.
I didn’t think she’d come back, but it means she was serious. But her father pulls her out. And she’s gone forever.
All this in the warm summer, the most pleasurable time, pleasure everywhere except for him, and for what? It feels now like his sin has sent him into that oblivion of nothing they believe, 8 weeks of summer. Forever.
“Have you ever touched a baby’s head?” unexpected question
I like how’s she honestly asking about faith but he’s as far away from his as he can get.
The Catherine wheel, torture device, her second name, second nature. Her other nature like the tattoo or second nature to to torture? He is tortured. But so is she
She wants his guidance but he wants sex and she doesn’t want that and it’s all confused.
Sander, interesting name. Sand, itchy, used in an hourglass (time running out).
The laughing presidents image doesn’t work that well.
He “hangs around the edge of the room like a curtain, a piece of furniture…” then we get the word “stalky” to describe the new flowers = these are related.
Shaft, penetrate, a little much here. We get it
They’re Jehovas Witnesses
I like the jump of time from him telling Clara that he can’t take a walk with her on Sunday, but on Monday he can. Very next line is his mother asking what her son’s intentions are. That stands out, she knows what he’s thinking about with that girl.
” and at that exact moment he splits into two people, the one he has always been and some itchy, wayward newborn. “
” What God Has Yoked Together ” Yoked is an interesting word here, eggs, reproduction, fragile, runny, eggs in a basket. He repeats the egg imagery by calling the congregation” hens and chicks “
“You want to get high” He asks, but she’s offering something similar
No hell, just oblivion. So maybe not fundamentalist Christian?
“But the two of them… ” What does this mean? I immediately thought incest, but jesh.
We know right away he is young, a kid.
The flowers wag their tongues at him as if they are mocking him?
Mom, just by her clothes is a fundamentalist Christian?
Image of the forbidden pubic hair combined with his bad haircut
He’s observant (noticing the door that had been open is now closed)
He is always hungry (in more ways than one)