It’s day 6! I’m reading the alloted pages in between watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and Bob’s Burgers so they may be slightly more surreal than usual. Can you believe today’s elimination? Probably the first time that Rupaul has… Oh yeah I’m supposed to be reading. Here goes!
– Page 211. We’re with Pemulis and Hal and co getting some drugs, man. Acid, no less. Pemulis is musing the possibilities of spiking people. He thinks it’s funny. Not cool, Michael.
– Page 213. Nobody would ever talk like this when scoring drugs. DFW tries to make everything so overbearingly intellectual. They’re trying to get wasted, dude… “‘One monograph had this toss-off about DMZ where the guy invites you to envision acid that has itself dropped acid.’” Purlease.
– Page 217. MY LIFE FOR A FULL STOP! Why are we going all around the houses? Yes, it does reflect the habitual drug-takers paranoid preparations for getting high I suppose, but we’re wandering all over the shop here.
– Page 219. There’s lots of references to suicide by hanging, or hanging from the end of a rope in this novel. Which, considering DFW’s own death is rather sad.
– Page 221. A party thrown by Molly Notkin and attended by Joelle Van Dyne. Two new characters to grapple with. I think Joelle is getting ready to top herself? It’s not clear why yet. Orin and his father are mentioned, but obscurely, in passing.
– Page 223. Was she acting in some of Jim Incandenza’s films? Her suicide is really confusing in detail, why did she smoke a piece of carpet? Wait, she’s still alive and walking somewhere. I’m confused. The timings are off. “Her mental name for the man had been ‘Infinite Jim.’” Huh.
– Page 225. Joelle Van Dyne is Madame Psychosis! And she was good friends (lovers?) and sometime muse of Jim Incandenza before his death. She is veiled. Why the veil? Is this why Madame P is never seen? The facial deformity would explain the radio show excerpt we read. She obviously has a fascination with deformities.
– Page 227. I’m once again confused. Why was Helen Steeply’s CV shown?
– Page 229. So Joelle was with Orin, who it seems does have a deformed arm. They were lovers, but then she appeared in his father’s films for some time and this may have created some discord. Jim seemed to have been showcasing her deformed face, and there’s a particular video where she’s in a cot, close up, apologising for something, as a mother? He killed himself shortly after this was shot.
– Page 235. At Molly Notkin’s party, who is apparently the bearded lady. Snatches of pretentious conversation.
– Page 240. Poor Joelle.
I’m ending in the middle of page 242, after two breathless descriptive sentences of the area around ETA. Thinking about Madame Psychosis/Joelle’s decision to smoke herself to death in the bathroom of a pretentious party, unveiled, as if wanting to be found, to be seen, by all these fake, shallow people, instead of expiring quietly and alone. A poignant scene.